Drew Brees Responds To Donald Trump’s Criticism Over Reversing His Position On Take-A-Knee NFL Protests

Drew Brees was engulfed in controversy last week when the New Orleans Saints quarterback gave an interview with Yahoo! and addressed Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players protesting police violence against African-Americans by kneeling during the national anthem prior to football games.

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said.

Brees was immediately hit with backlash for his comments. Among those calling him out was fellow athlete LeBron James, who wrote, “You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee??”

As the backlash built, Brees responded with two separate apologies, admitting he “missed the mark” while revealing he has since come to gain a clearer understanding of the the intent of the kneeling.

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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. 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. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.

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Brees’ reversal and declaration of supporting the Black community did not sit well with President Donald Trump, who has been vocal in his criticism of the kneeling protests at NFL games.

“I am a big fan of Drew Brees… but he should not have taken back his original stance on honouring our magnificent American flag,” Trump tweeted

Brees responded to Trump’s criticism in a lengthy statement he posted on Instagram, addressing him directly.

“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees wrote.

“We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week,” he continued.

RELATED: Drew Brees Gives Second Apology For ‘Taking The Knee’ Comment: ‘I Will Be Part Of The Solution’

“We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform,” added Brees.

“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities,” he concluded. “We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”

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To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

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