In the aftermath of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ controversial remarks against national anthem protests during NFL games, one of his former teammates, retired wide receiver Joe Horn, spoke in the star’s defense and asked fans to stop accusing him of racism.
As quoted by NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk, Horn spoke to Jeff Duncan of subscriber-only publication The Athletic on Wednesday, where he stressed that people shouldn’t “[throw] Drew Brees under the bus” for his comments about national anthem protests being a form of disrespect toward the American flag. He also emphasized that the quarterback is not a racist, given his many efforts to help the African American community in New Orleans through the years.
“If Drew Brees didn’t love black families and low-income families he wouldn’t have helped the way he has over the years,” Horn added.
Shifting his attention to the criticism Brees has faced from other public figures such as Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, Horn said that these celebrities should “check his resume” before speaking against him. He also went back to his earlier point about his former quarterback and his character, calling him a “good person” who may have been unfairly judged for the remarks he made on Wednesday.
“Until you have walked beside him and gotten to know him, his wife and family, you definitely have to give him a pass on this one and allow Drew a chance to think about what he said and come back and make this right. And I know he will.”
Although Horn was more than willing to vouch for Brees and counter any accusations of racism against the quarterback, not all current or former Saints players shared the four-time Pro Bowler’s opinions on the matter. As reported earlier on Wednesday by The Hill, Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins posted a video on social media where he called out Brees and described his comments as “hurtful” and “insensitive” amid the widespread unrest over the death of George Floyd.
Another present-day Saint, wide receiver Michael Thomas, simply tweeted that “he don’t know no better” but chose not to mention Brees by name, as further cited by The Hill.
Separately, retired NFL tight end Martellus Bennett, who played for five teams in a 10-season pro football career, also made his thoughts on the issue public. He did, however, choose not to target Brees in specific, as he said that “white quarterbacks” in general tend not to take a stand on social justice issues due to their desire to protect their “Captain America” public images.