New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said in a post on Instagram Friday that the NFL protests were never about the flag.
Brees’ comments come after he initially said Wednesday he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag.” He later issued an apology for his comments saying his comments were “insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.”
President Donald Trump then got involved and said Brees should have never backtracked on his comments.
“He should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag,” Trump tweeted. “OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high…”
In an Instagram post, Brees wrote that “we can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”
“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees’ post read. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”
These issues, Brees said, included systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial and prison reform.
“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities,” Brees wrote. “We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”
Brees’ comments were echoed by his wife, Brittany Brees, who posted on the couple’s Brees Dream Foundation Instagram page, where she apologized.
“To say, ‘I don’t agree with disrespecting the flag’ … I now understand was also saying I don’t understand what the problem really is, I don’t understand what you’re righting for, and I’m not willing to hear you because of our preconceived (notions) of what that flag means to us,” she wrote.
“That’s the problem,” she added, “we are not listening, white America is not hearing.”
“It’s our job to educate ourselves,” Brittany Brees wrote. “We are sorry.”