Drew Brees Vows to Stand for National Anthem But Supports Those Who Kneel

Kyle T. Mosley

Drew Brees addressed the elephant in the room right away.

On an early Saturday morning call with reporters, the New Orleans Saints quarterback talked about training camp, his teammates, expectations for the season, and all of the other football-related topics that permeate these conversations. Instead, he led with a carefully worded statement on social injustices for minorities, which was meant to correct the comments he made in a Yahoo Finance interview shortly after protests broke out following the killing of George Floyd.

"I had an opportunity to talk about and emphasize the social injustices that exists for our Black community, and our need as a country to support them and to advocate for systemic change," Brees said Saturday. "And, my lack of awareness in that moment, hurt a lot of people."

Since he arrived in New Orleans, Drew Brees has been more than just another quarterback. He has become a beloved figure and family man, a philanthropist, and leader, and he was without question one of the most admired people both the city and the league. The interview with Yahoo Finance forced many fans and casual observers to question their relationship with and understanding of the quarterback.

Brees has made multiple statements following the interview to apologize for the insensitive comments, and Saturday's call presented him another opportunity to tackle the issues again.

In the beginning, his response was passionate and terse and became more deliberate at the end.

Drew Brees' Statement:

"I've always been someone who has felt compelled to serve. It's the main reason why Brittany and I came to New Orleans. You know that was a time when I really wasn't sure if I would ever play football again. But, I knew that I had a chance to be a part of something much greater than myself.

"And the last 15 years of New Orleans have been some of the proudest, most rewarding moments of our lives. And, we we've tried to dedicate ourselves to creating a lasting legacy of hope of love and progress, especially in this city."

"To think for a second that New Orleans, or the state of Louisiana, or the Black community would think that I was not standing with them for social justice, completely broke my heart," Brees said, referring to his interview with Yahoo Finance. "It was crushing.

"I recognize that I missed an opportunity that day."

Brees went on to explain his stance of social issues with three main points of emphasis:

"Number one, [I will] always stand for the flag, because of what it means to me, and to honor all those who have sacrificed, who have served and died for our country. And all those who have struggled to move this country forward."

"Second, I acknowledge and respect anyone who chooses to kneel or any other form of peaceful protest to bring attention to the social injustices and systemic racism that so many have endured and continued to endure in our country. I will always support and advocate for the Black and brown communities in the fight for social justice, always.

Third, I'm the same person now that I've always been. I'm someone who cares deeply for people in my community, New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, people everywhere. I'm someone who will always address the inequities and disparities that exist. I'm someone who has great empathy for those who are hurting, struggling or victims of injustice.

And, I'm someone who feels a great sense of responsibility to serve and to lead, and to bring true equality to everyone. Thank You"

Brees' convictions have been and will forever be strong in honoring the United States. Mostly because of the patriotic commitments of his grandfathers and how they served the country in WWII. Therefore, Brees will stand for the National Anthem. He believes his standing should not undermine his minority teammates' values for social equality, especially since he has committed to join the fight against systemic racism and inequalities in America.

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From what Sean Payton said this week it sounds like the Saints locker room is in good shape. It is good to hear Brees address the elephant in the room right out of the gate today.