Drew Brees’ kneeling rebuke angers Saints star Michael Thomas


When asked about the possibility of his fellow NFL players taking a knee in protest of police brutality during the 2020 season, Saints quarterback Drew Brees said he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Brees discussed how he views the American flag while he’s standing for the national anthem before games. He also compared the sacrifices his two grandfathers made during World War II to those who fought in the civil rights movements of the 60s.

“Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States,” Brees, 41, said. “I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.

“So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about. And in many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ‘60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.

“And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. 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 that we are all part of the solution.”

Saints receiver Michael Thomas seemingly responded to Brees’ comments Wednesday.

“He don’t know no better,” Thomas, 27, wrote on Twitter. “We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.”

Drew Brees and Michael Thomas
Drew Brees and Michael ThomasGetty Images

Thomas, who has received Pro Bowl nods in three of his last four seasons with New Orleans, set the NFL record for receptions in 2019 with 149. He averaged 107.8 receiving yards per game.

Fellow Saints receiver Emmanuel Sanders also seemingly reacted to Brees’ comments, writing on Twitter, “Smh.. Ignorant.”

Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn recently addressed Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 kneeling protests in a wide-ranging interview with the Los Angeles Times, claiming that Kaepernick, who hasn’t played in the NFL since that season of kneeling, was protesting criminal justice reform and police brutality, not the flag.

“People completely misunderstood Colin and what he was trying to do,” Lynn said. “People talked about disrespecting the flag . . . the flag covers a lot — patriotism and civil rights and other things. And Colin was speaking out against the injustice and a lot of people didn’t catch on to that because it was happening during the national anthem. They thought it was disrespectful to the flag.

“I was surprised by the number of people who didn’t know why he was protesting. I got letters from people. I had people walk up to me and ask, ‘Coach, what are you going to do if someone on your team protests?’ ….And once you broke it down, they were like, “Oh, we didn’t know that. We thought he was protesting the flag.” And that was the case for a lot of people I came across.”

A number of prominent NFL players have spoken out following the police-involved killing of George Floyd, a black man from Minneapolis. Players like Joe Burrow, D.K. Metcalf, Richard Sherman and Carson Wentz have voiced their opinions.

After a Blackout Tuesday hashtag circulated through social media on Tuesday, where people posted a black screen to reflect on racism and promote minority voices, a number of athletes, celebrities, companies and sports team participated – including Brees.



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