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Oilers legend Warren Moon talks Drew Brees, racial profiling

Moon was the first black quarterback in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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HOUSTON – Warren Moon says he knows racism and has experienced it all too well.

After all, he had to play in the Canadian league before the NFL would accept him as a black quarterback.

With social justice issues front and center, Moon opened up about his personal experiences. He also spoke about Drew Brees’ comments and apology, and how he balances respect for police officers with fear.

Moon on Drew Brees’ initial comments

I’ve known Drew a long time and I’m aware of all the things he’s done in the (New Orleans) area,” Moon said. “But he was just really close-minded to the subject of what was really going on out there with all these protests and what the kneeling was all about for the last three or four years. That’s the thing that was disappointing to me, he wasn’t able to listen and understand what a lot of these players are going through."

"You got to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes sometimes, and it’s not always about what you feel... even though your feelings are important,” Moon explained. “You also have to consider other people’s feelings and I don’t think he was doing that.”

“I know he’s a good person, and I know he does good things for a lot of different people, especially African Americans, but he was very close-minded when it came to that subject.”

On Brees’ apology

Any time you apologize for anything it’s a step in the right direction. Whether people accept it at that time... it’s going to take some time to un-do some of the stuff that he said," Moon said. “Sometimes it takes conversation, it takes listening to understand.”

He said he is sure Bree’s still feels strongly about the flag but also needs to understand that other people who feel a bit differently than he does is key

On the request of some NFL athletes have made asking the league to apologize for the way they treated colin Kaepernick

I don’t think that will happen,” Moon said. “I think there’s still a lot of owners who have their feelings about Colin Kaepernick and those things aren’t going to change. I think they look at what he did and probably have respect because they see that it’s making change, but they just didn’t like when he did it, during their football games. It interrupted their business, it interrupted their chance to make money. So I think those things will probably never go away, but I think they understand now what he was trying to do and they see that it’s having very positive effects on this country even though it’s not something that they wanted to have happen on their watch.”

(After the interview, Roger Goodell did make a statement, but did not address Kaepernick specifically.)

On balancing respect for police with fear, and being racially profiled

When I was growing up and played Pop Warner football, most of my coaches were policemen. I had great respect for policemen because of that.”

“At one point I was a criminal justice major, that’s how much I thought of police. Now, you look at what’s going on with policing in this country, and it’s been going on for a long time, you shouldn’t have to have a conversation with your 13-year-old son about what he needs to do and not do when he’s confronted by a policeman.”

‘Even me, at this age in my life, I still tense up when I see a police car around me. I’ve been pulled over numerous times just for the type of car that I’m driving. I’ve been asked, ‘how can you afford this type of car,’ then they see my license, and then they understand, ‘oh, ok, we know who you are now,’" said Moon, adding that he’s one of the “privileged African Americans.”

On athletes utilizing social media

A lot of these players have their own platforms and are trying to create their own brands and have a following,” Moon said. “So when they tweet something or when they go on social media in whatever way it is, that message gets directly from them to the people that they’re talking to. Back when I played, you had to do a newspaper article and that might get edited, you didn’t really get out there what you wanted to say. So I think social media gives them an opportunity to really get what they want to say and what their feelings are directly to the people they want them to go to.”