After Drew Brees apologized for saying earlier this week that he will "never agree" with players kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest against police brutality, he faced a new wave of backlash -- from President Trump. Now, Brees is standing his ground, and has told Trump in an Instagram post that "we need to listen and learn" about racial injustice.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," referring to the NFL players who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Brees added that the Anthem reminds him of what his grandfathers risked when they served in the military during World War II.
"Is everything right with our country right now? No, it's not," Brees said. "We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and we are all part of the solution."
Brees apologized for the remarks on Friday, writing in an Instagram post that his "comments were insensitive and completely missed the mark."
Soon after, Mr. Trump tweeted that Brees shouldn't have apologized.
"I think he's truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high," Mr. Trump tweeted. "We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!"
I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020
Brees again took to social media on Saturday to respond to Mr. Trump's criticism, saying he has ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community. Now, he said, "I realize this is not an issue about the American flag."