Drew Brees apologizes after several athletes, including Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, criticize stance on anthem kneeling

Former Miami Heat players Dwyane Wade and LeBron James respond to Saints quarterback Drew Brees' comments on NFL players protesting before games

Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade needed just a few words to express his thoughts on the recent controversial comments made by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees regarding NFL players kneeling for the national anthem in protest of police brutality against minorities.

Brees created a stir Wednesday when he said he would "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America" during an interview with Yahoo Finance. On Thursday morning, Brees apologized on social media. 

"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," Brees posted on Instagram. "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. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy."

Brees' original comments drew the ire of teammate Malcolm Jenkins, one of the players alongside former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick who took a knee during the anthem. In a video posted on Instagram, Jenkins told Brees, "Our communities are under siege, and we need help. And what you're telling us is don't ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way."

Wade retweeted the video with a microphone emoji followed by the word "dropped.

The timing of the comments made by Brees, who comes from a military family, fanned the flames. Protests and riots broke out across the country last week after Minneapolis man George Floyd, who is black, died hours following being in custody of four police officers. Incidents as such are why Kaepernick began his protests during the 2016 season.

Wade's former teammate and close friend, LeBron James, also aimed at Brees on Twitter.

"Is it still surprising at this point," James wrote. "Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee??"

The Heat have been supportive of the minority community throughout the ordeal, with Meyers Leonard, Duncan Robinson and Udonis Haslem making public statements on the issue.

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