- Drew Brees’ comments about standing during the national anthem garnered huge backlash on Wednesday
- The longtime Saints QB (sort of) apologized on Thursday
- Sportsbooks have released odds on what Brees will do during the anthem when the Saints host the Bucs in Week 1
Drew Brees created quite the controversy.
During an interview with Yahoo on Wednesday, Brees was asked to revisit Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice and police brutality during the 2016 season. The New Orleans Saints’ quarterback said he opposed Kaepernick’s actions.
In response, oddsmakers have set lines on what Brees will do during the anthem before the Saints’ scheduled opener against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 13.
Drew Brees National Anthem Week 1 Odds
|Hand on teammate’s shoulder||-155|
|No hand on teammate’s shoulder||+115|
Odds taken June 4
Brees Tries to Backtrack
Brees told Yahoo! that the national anthem reminds him of his grandfathers, who both served in the Armed Forces during World War II.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States,” Brees said. “In many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, and not just in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point.”
Brees then backtracked Thursday in an Instagram post.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
View this post on Instagram
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.
Anger From Many Corners
However, the damage had already been done. Brees’ original statement angered many athletes from the major North American professional sports league. Among them was Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. That would seemingly be cause for some awkward moments when training camp opens.
“Drew Brees, if you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem,” Jenkins said in a video posted on Twitter. “To think that because your grandfathers served in this country that you have a great respect for the flag that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts that you do is ridiculous.
“And it shows that you don’t know history. Because when our grandfathers fought for this country and served, they came back. They didn’t come back to a hero’s welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms. They came back to racism. To complete violence.”
I recorded a few videos when thinking of how to respond to Drew Brees, I don’t take any of it back-I meant what I said-I removed the 1st video because I knew it be more about the headlines. I want people to understand how those of us struggling with what’s going on feel pic.twitter.com/T054qt0YEz
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) June 3, 2020
Though Jenkins signed with the Saints in March as a free agent, he and Brees know each other well. The two were teammates in New Orleans for five seasons from 2009-13 until Jenkins left for the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency.
What Will He Do?
Brees did not take part in any anthem protests four years ago, but the question is, will he do so in 2020.
Following his remarks Wednesday, it seems likely Brees will drop to one knee Sept. 13 to atone for his comments. Brees is also the Saints’ leader entering his 20th NFL season and there would be no better way to assert his leadership than joining his teammates in protest.
So, the play here is kneel, especially at such a good price.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.