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June 5, 2020

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Brees sorry for ‘insensitive’ kneeling views

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized yesterday after his criticism of National Football League kneeling protests drew a furious backlash.

In a statement on Instagram, Brees said his suggestion that kneeling to protest racism and police brutality was “disrespectful” to the US flag had been “hurtful and insensitive.”

“I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday (Wednesday),” Brees said. “In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.

“In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.”

As a wave of demonstrations against police brutality and racism sweeps across the US, many athletes have voiced support for former NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who ignited controversy in 2016 by kneeling during the US national anthem.

It has led to speculation that more players may opt to “take a knee” during the upcoming NFL season in solidarity with Kaepernick, who was frozen out of the NFL for his protests about racial injustices.

On Wednesday, Brees triggered an outcry when he told Yahoo that he remained firmly opposed to kneeling.

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said.

Brees remarks were widely criticized by fellow NFL players and athletes, including National Basketball Association superstar LeBron James.


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