Drew Brees struck a nerve with his comments about how kneeling during the national anthem is “disrespecting the flag.”
Following the release of his interview with Yahoo Sports Wednesday, the longtime Saints quarterback was met with significant backlash for his response to a question about the possibility of NFL players kneeling — as Colin Kaepernick and others did in 2016 — during the national anthem this upcoming season. Brees said he can never support those actions.
Fans, his fellow New Orleans teammates and other athletes, like LeBron James, have denounced Brees’ comments.
“WOW MAN!!” James wrote on Twitter. “Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of [the flag] and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free.
“My father-in-law was one of those men who fought as well for this country. I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitment. He never found Kap peaceful protest offensive because he and I both know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong! God bless you.”
Former NFLer and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark also chimed in with his perception of Brees’ comments.
“Always knew who he was! Every time y’all came at me and said I couldn’t come home because I didn’t think he was Jesus. Oh well! Keep cheering,” Clark wrote on Twitter.
Jason and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots called Brees’ interview a “disgrace.”
“This is a disgrace! To speak about your grandfathers as if there weren’t black men fighting next to them,” the McCourty brothers’ joint Twitter account wrote. “Those men later returned to a country that hated them. Don’t avoid the issue and try to make it about a flag or the military. Fight like your grandfathers for whats right!”
Jets star safety Jamal Adams was also clearly disappointed in Brees.
“Dammit Drew…,” Adams wrote.
ESPN Radio host Peter Rosenberg recorded a video response to a clip of Brees’ interview with Yahoo Finance to offer his thoughts as well.
“Shout out to Drew Brees for officially becoming the captain of the ‘you’re missing the point, white privilege, Hall of Fame’ club,” he said.