LeBron James Calls Out Drew Brees After He Says He's Still Against National Anthem Kneeling
By Antoinette Bueno
LeBron James publicly criticized New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Wednesday after Brees said in a new interview that he was still against NFL players kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest police brutality, even amid nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd.
James tweeted a clip of Brees' interview with Yahoo Finance in which Brees was asked how the NFL should respond to players kneeling during the national anthem when the new season eventually starts again. Taking a knee in protest against the systemic oppression of black people in the United States was started by Colin Kaepernick in 2016, whom some say has been blackballed from being a part of any NFL team since.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees responded, noting that his two grandfathers fought for the country during World War II. "That brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed. Not just those 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."
"And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not," he continued. "We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution.”
James responded, "WOW MAN!! ??♂️. Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don't understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of [the American flag] and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free."
"My father-in-law was one of those men who fought as well for this country," James continued. "I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitment. He never found Kap peaceful protest offensive because he and I both know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong! God bless you. ??✊??."
WOW MAN!! 🤦🏾♂️. Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of 🇺🇸 and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers also seemingly responded to Brees' comments Wednesday.
"A few years ago we were criticized for locking arms in solidarity before the game," he wrote alongside a picture of him and his teammates. "It has NEVER been about an anthem or a flag. Not then. Not now. Listen with an open heart, let’s educate ourselves, and then turn word and thought into action. #wakeupamerica #itstimeforchange #loveoverfear❤️ #solidarity #libertyandjusticeforall #all."
On Wednesday, Brees Instagrammed a message calling for unity and wrote that actions speak louder than words.
"If you are reading this, you are probably one of those whose voice and influence is very powerful in the life of a young person," he wrote in part. "So when you ask what difference you can make in this world… It’s exactly that. Raise, teach, but most importantly model to young people what it is to love all and respect all."
"There is a saying in every locker room I have been in… Don’t just talk about it, be about it," he continued. "Acknowledge the problem, and accept the fact that we all have a responsibility to make it better. 'Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.'"
In a comment to ESPN, Brees said that he does support his teammates when it comes to fighting for racial equality and justice.
"I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice," he said. "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."
"I believe we should all stand for the national anthem and respect our country and all those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms," he continued. "That includes all those who marched for women's suffrage in the 1920s and all those who marched in the civil rights movements and continue to march for racial equality. All of us ... EVERYONE ... represent that flag. Same way I respect all the citizens of our country ... no matter their race, color, religion."