Update: Drew Brees has issued an apology for his comments.
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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.
Earlier today we asked you to listen to voices who could speak from experience about the current protests that are happening across the United States. Julius Peppers is a great place for us to start. Today he spoke out to address a public statement made by Drew Brees. Below are Brees’ statement and the response made by Julius Peppers.
Drew Brees, in making a series of comments for the first time since the killing of George Floyd, reiterated his stance on how he will "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America."— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 3, 2020
If you're still talking about players "disrespecting the flag" by kneeling during the national anthem clearly you're not ready for these conversations. Call a time out and come back later.— Julius Peppers (@juliuspeppers_) June 3, 2020
The often-quiet former Carolina Panthers defensive end and all around North Carolina athletic hero usually lets his charitable actions do the talking for him during large scale crises, such as when he donated millions of dollars and much of his own time to establish the Julius Peppers Hurricane Relief Fund after Hurricane Florence devastated much of the eastern part of North Carolina in 2018. It is notable, then, that he chose to speak now.
Peppers was not the only high profile athlete to call out Brees. Below is a response from LeBron James which contains the video of Brees’ original comments.
men who fought as well for this country. I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitement. 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. ✊— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2020