When asked what he thought about players potentially kneeling in protest during the national anthem during the 2020 season, Drew Brees, QB1 for the New Orleans Saints said this:
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played, and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place."
The first time I saw the video I thought it was a clip of an old take. How could the New Orleans Saints' (short but) fearless leader say something like this on Wednesday when Tuesday's version of Drew Brees posted a black square, showing support for #blackouttuesday.
Somebody, please tell Drew Brees to save the "social media support" if he doesn't actually believe in the progression of the movement. Some people shut down when they read this next person's name, so I'm going to use a pseudonym to shield the easily triggered. In 2016, Schmolin Schmackernick kneeled during the national anthem to bring attention to murders like George Floyd's while George Floyd was still alive. If Schmackernick made lifelong enemies rocking his afro and kneeling during the national anthem back then, Drew Brees deserves to make lifelong enemies for using his platform so irresponsibly right now.
Can the Purdue legend have that opinion? Absolutely, but it's wrong. In a time when America is so divided, wouldn't it be nice if Drew showed his sons what it looked like to support their black heroes like Zion Williamson? It's disappointing to know that Drew Brees still thinks the peaceful protest that Schmolin Schmackernick started is in any way disrespectful to the military or the American flag.
After sitting during the first national anthem of the preseason, Schmolin linked up with my friend, former Green Beret Nate Boyer, who told him kneeling would not only show respect during the national anthem but it symbolizes mourning and vulnerability. Instead of him sitting during the anthem, which symbolizes disrespect, Schmackernick began kneeling. And to those who are still offended by Schmackernick's kneeling, imagine how pissed off you'd be if he had turned his back to the flag during the anthem or stayed in the locker room during the national anthem or left his hat on like half of you baldies do during the national anthem. Symbolically speaking, Schmackernick could have been a lot more disrespectful while bringing awareness to police brutality in America. I'd like to echo Marques Colston's words to his former Saints QB: "As a man, a black man, and a father, your comments today cut deep. Not because you have an opinion or perspective – but because it continues to be so dismissive and insensitive to others."
Drew Brees can't be posting pictures of his kids with Zion Williamson one summer and be silent on black issues the next (outside of Blackout Tuesday's black square.) It can't work like that. It perpetuates a system of silence that black people are finally starting to break.
No one is "protesting the flag" during the national anthem. And if players and teams decide to kneel during the national anthem, I expect a larger majority of each team to be kneeling or doing something in unison. If there is a season this fall, I fully expect the national anthem ceremonies to go through a post-COVID-19 makeover to eliminate kneeling from the conversation as a whole. If Schmackernick taught us anything during the 2016-17 season, it's that black voices are easily muted by big corporations who "don't see color." Irresponsible words like Drew Brees' on any platform continue to perpetuate oppression through silence.
Drew is allowed to have that opinion, but opinions like that from people like that is why Americans may never age out of systemic racism. It's too easy for white people to tune out of black issues. The point of #blackouttuesday was to make it impossible to ignore what is going on to people of color worldwide but especially in the United States. We have to annoy people into talking about the conversation that's been too hard for Barstool to have.
S/o Aaron Rodgers for helping his audience learn how to lead by listening.