NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - It’s the interview and the quote heard around the NFL.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” says Drew Brees.
That’s how he began his response to a question from Yahoo Finance when asked about his reaction to NFL players possibly kneeling during the anthem to protest this season.
He even gave ESPN another statement to further clarify.
“I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice," Brees says. "I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”*
But that explanation still did not sit well with teammates, past or present. Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, most notably, posted a four minute video on Instagram explaining to Drew Brees why he was so hurt by his words.
“Our communities are under siege,” says Jenkins during a part of the video that’s since been cut from the post. “And we need help. And what you’re telling us is don’t ask for help that way. Ask a different way. I can’t listen to it when you ask that way. We’re done asking Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those, who pus them throughout the world are the problem. And it’s unfortunate because I considered you a friend and someone I had a great deal of respect for. But sometimes, you should shut the (deleted expletive) up.”
Jenkins wasn’t alone. Saints defensive end Cam Jordan tweeting, “Be a better ally.”
Former Saint Lance Moore sums his feelings up in one word, “Disappointed.”
Meanwhile, another former New Orleans receiver, Willie Snead, tweets, “A foolish person’s words can have serious consequences.”
Former Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton tells Fox 8 that those consequences can have a big effect on the Saints locker room.
“You don’t let personal things involve business,” says Lofton. “You try not to, but I feel like a lot of his teammates and former teammates feel like he spit in our face making these comments again.”
Lofton says that Brees, as a future hall of famer and one of the most recognizable players in the world, should be more careful with his message if he wants to truly help unify the people that follow him.
“His platform is bigger than just about anybody else’s,” says Lofton. “When he speaks, people listen. When I came to the Saints, when I got to play with Drew Brees, when he spoke, I listened to him. And so he’s able to reach a different demographic than a lot of other players and a lot of different people because of who he is. That’s why you have to be careful with the words and things that you say. Because everyone is listening. We’re supposed to unifying not dividing, and those comments were dividing.”