There are two ways to view this apology:
1) Drew Brees said what he meant yesterday and his ignorant statements are an accurate reflection of his true sentiments on the subject. But after pissing people off - including his teammates and many across the league - and receiving serious backlash for his genuine beliefs, he felt forced to issue a statement of apology, not because he meant it, but because he's concerned his words turned "people into believing that somehow I am an enemy." So, together with his publicist, they crafted the perfect synthetic apology to save his good-guy image.
2) Drew Brees made a mistake and is legitimately sorry for his hurtful words "that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country" and "lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy." Maybe the backlash he received is what needed to happen for him to open his mind and ears to what others have to say. Maybe he truly didn't understand the magnitude of his beliefs until he spoke to certain people who enlightened him with their truth. And maybe his apology is not hollow, but instead filled with sincerity.
The reality is we may never know if his true intentions are the first or the latter. In the end, we will all choose the option that best serves our own individual truths. For me, I am making the choice to believe in the authenticity of his apology.
Yesterday, I praised Aaron Rodgers for "coming to the table with a message of empathy and a willingness to listen, learn, and take action."
Today, Brees is doing just that: "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."
Maybe he should have done the listening before he opened his mouth, maybe the damage has been done in the eyes of some, maybe his apology was a little too quick and convenient, maybe those who know him closely don't for a second believe he's sincere, and maybe he's not, in which case he can go fuck himself... but maybe he is. Maybe all the good he's done for the people of New Orleans is the rightful indicator of the kind of man he is and not these words. Maybe he truly didn't know what his words meant for so many minorities, myself included, but once he listened, he understood how hurtful they were.
I'd like to believe we are all capable of being better. We all make mistakes, we're all ignorant to one thing or another. What defines us isn't what we know now, it's what we're willing to learn and how we choose to educate ourselves, reflect, and respond.
If Drew Brees' words ring true, then he's the perfect example of the change we need in this country.
I'm sure Michael Thomas would agree.