New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said Wednesday that he hopes national anthem protests don’t return along with the NFL season when the league resumes play later this year, Yahoo Finance reported.
The NFL was about to officially begin its offseason when the full gravity of the coronavirus pandemic became known. Unlike other professional sports leagues, which have had to cancel or postpone games and scramble to figure out how to conduct or conclude their seasons, the NFL will likely not have to make any major adjustments to its schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And indeed, as of this writing, the league fully intends to resume play this season, although it may have to do so without fans, and possibly at neutral sites. Those decisions, however, have yet to be made.
Yahoo Finance writer Daniel Roberts noted that, with social justice and police brutality once again on the country’s mind, some protesters may resume kneeling during the national anthem once the season resumes. This is a practice started by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who did so to protest police brutality.
Brees is not on board with having those protests come back.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America,” he said.
Both of Brees’ grandfathers served during World War II, he said, and as such, he believes the flag is “sacred.”
“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,” he said.
The veteran signal-caller had previously addressed the matter of national anthem protests. Back in 2016, when these actions first started, he said that he supported Kaepernick’s right to protest, but that he didn’t care for the way he was carrying it out.
This is not to say that Brees himself has been silent on the George Floyd issue, which has dominated the headlines for the past several days. On Tuesday, he joined other social media users in posting a simple black box on his Instagram page, as a sign of solidarity with those protesting over the death of George Floyd. On Wednesday, he again posted about social justice on his Instagram page.
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Words to unite.. A mentor of mine once told me that if you listen closely, the sound of children playing is the same no matter where you are in the world. The laughing, shouting, screaming, giggling… No matter what language you speak, no matter what your race, color, religion… the exact same. At some point we all change… The reasons… Our environment, experiences, education…The voices and influences around us. If you are reading this, you are probably one of those whose voice and influence is very powerful in the life of a young person. So when you ask what difference you can make in this world… It’s exactly that. Raise, teach, but most importantly model to young people what it is to love all and respect all. There is a saying in every locker room I have been in… Don’t just talk about it, be about it. Acknowledge the problem, and accept the fact that we all have a responsibility to make it better. “Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying”
Brees also touched on other issues not related to Floyd, Kaepernick, or protests. For example, he noted that he is confident the NFL season will start on time, although he’s of the belief that it will be played without fans at first. Specifically, he said there may be a phased return to spectators in the seats as the season progresses, starting with no fans, moving on to a limited number, and ending up with everyone allowed back.