Drew Brees says his flag comments ‘completely missed the mark’

In lengthy apology posted on Instagram Thursday morning, Brees said he stands with the black community and wants to be a leader for change.

SHARE Drew Brees says his flag comments ‘completely missed the mark’
In this 2016 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, right, speaks with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

In this 2016 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, right, speaks with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

D. Ross Cameron/AP

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees publicly apologized for “insensitive” comments he made about NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

In lengthy apology posted on Instagram Thursday morning, Brees said he stands with the black community and wants to be a leader for change. “I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability,” he wrote.

Brees, the NFL’s all-time passing leader and 13-time Pro Bowler, drew massive backlash from the sports world on Wednesday after he told Yahoo! Finance that he wouldn’t be okay with protesting racial injustice and police brutality if it meant disrespecting the flag, arguing that standing during the anthem signified the country’s unity and represented what civil rights leaders have fought for off the field.

“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,” Brees said Thursday. ”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.”

A plethora of sports figures, including Aaron Rodgers and LeBron James, condemned Brees’ comments. Brees’ teammate, Malcolm Jenkins, said Wednesday of Brees: ”If you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you’re part of the problem.”

“It breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused,” Brees wrote Thursday.

Brees said in his initial comments on Wednesday to Yahoo! Finance: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. 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.”

Saints linebacker Demario Davis told CNN Thursday he found Brees’ apology sincere and influential for how other people should handle missteps.

“For him to admit that he was wrong and say you know what I can do better, and I will do better, I think that is leadership at its finest,” Davis said. “It’s not easy to come out and admit when you’re wrong. For him to do that I think that’s very symbolic of America, especially all of the ethnic groups that aren’t people of color or black people, in understanding it’s OK, you might have got it wrong, but don’t get it wrong now. That’s where we need to be as a country.”

Read more at usatoday.com

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