Monday, November 30, 2020

Drew Brees shows he’s willfully ignorant with comments on flag, race


Sports activities Pulse: After Drew Brees made feedback about gamers protesting, listed here are some reactions from the gamers


Drew Brees isn’t simply tone deaf. He’s willfully ignorant.

Whereas different white athletes are rigorously reflecting on the racism that is still woven tightly into the material of this nation and their half in it, Brees is doubling down on the lie that has given so many individuals cowl to disregard and discredit Colin Kaepernick’s protests. He’s perpetuating the misinformation that Kaepernick taking a knee was ever about something apart from police brutality in opposition to black and brown individuals.

“I’ll by no means agree with anyone disrespecting the flag of america of America or our nation,” Brees said during an interview with Daniel Roberts of YahooFinance that was posted Wednesday. “Let me simply let you know what I see or what I really feel when the nationwide anthem is performed and after I take a look at the flag of america. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this nation throughout World Struggle II, one within the Military and one within the Marine Corps, each risking their lives to guard our nation and to attempt to make our nation and this world a greater place.

“And in lots of instances, it brings me to tears, interested by all that has been sacrificed,” he added. “Not simply these within the army however, for that matter, these all through the civil rights actions of the ‘60s and everybody and all that has been endured by so many individuals up till this level.”

What Brees stated isn’t simply disingenuous, it’s self-absorbed, the sort of entitled view solely a white particular person can have. And with the nation roiled by protests because it tries to reckon with the brutal penalties of its endemic racism, it’s harmful.

Hurtful, too. 

In a searing video on Instagram, Malcolm Jenkins blasted his teammate’s ignorance and insensitivity

“The entire nation’s on hearth and the very first thing you do is criticize one’s peaceable protest,” stated Jenkins, who raised his fist through the anthem in 2016 and 2017.

Fact is, the protests by Kaepernick and different gamers had been by no means in regards to the flag, the anthem or the army. There had been a string of high-profile instances of black and brown individuals dying by the hands of police, most of which had gone unpunished, and Kaepernick was attempting to get white America’s consideration.

To get us to care. That police handled individuals of shade worse, sure. But in addition that our complete society is rigged in opposition to minorities, the ugly legacy of slavery and colonization.

However most of us didn’t consider it, and we didn’t need to hear about it. So Kaepernick’s protest – about as peaceable and respectful a gesture as somebody who’s pissed off could make – was twisted into one thing ugly. One thing unpatriotic.

One thing that didn’t must be listened to and didn’t have to be addressed.

4 years later, we’re seeing simply how silly that was.

George Floyd shouldn’t be the one black particular person killed by police since 2016 – removed from it. However the sheer brutality of his loss of life, a white officer kneeling on his neck for nearly 9 minutes whereas Floyd cries that he can’t breathe till his physique goes limp, has resonated with America in a means we haven’t seen because the civil rights period. 

And it’s misplaced on nobody that protesters, and even some legislation enforcement officers, are making the identical gesture Kaepernick did.

“I used to be one of many individuals who initially thought Colin Kaepernick kneeling was disrespectful. I reacted to WHAT he was doing as an alternative of WHY,” U.S. girls’s hockey participant Kendall Coyne Schofield stated in a put up on social media Tuesday.

“Then I listened and realized,” Coyne Schofield continued. “So let me be completely clear: It was NEVER in regards to the flag. It was by no means about my members of the family who serve(d). It wasn’t about me. It at all times was and IS about George Floyd and the numerous others who got here earlier than him.”

That sort of introspection and honesty by white Individuals is crucial if we’re ever going to attain that extra good union. Making his first public feedback since Floyd’s loss of life, Aaron Rodgers took issue with Brees’ message, stating emphatically that the protests have “NEVER” been in regards to the flag or the anthem.

“Hear with an open coronary heart, let’s educate ourselves, after which flip phrase and thought into motion,” Rodgers posted. 

However Brees can’t be bothered.

Certain, he turned his Instagram web page black and posted an inspiring quote from Nelson Mandela. These symbolic gestures are rendered meaningless when a day later you twist the intent of a peaceable gesture akin to taking a knee.

“By standing there and exhibiting respect to the flag together with your hand over your coronary heart, it exhibits unity,” Brees stated. “It exhibits that we’re all on this collectively, we are able to all do higher and that we’re all a part of the answer.”

Brees has spent most of his life surrounded by teammates of all colours and backgrounds. He has performed the majority of his profession for Sean Payton, most likely essentially the most enlightened white coach there may be within the NFL. And nonetheless Brees stated what he did.

“He don’t know no higher,” teammate Michael Thomas stated on Twitter.

However ignorance is not an excuse. And given the response there was on social media, it’s not going to be tolerated, both.

“For those who don’t perceive that different individuals’s expertise is one thing completely completely different than you, then whenever you speak in regards to the brotherhood and all this different bullshit, it’s simply lip service. Or it’s solely on the sector,” Jenkins stated, choking again tears.

“As a result of once we step off this subject and I take my helmet off, I’m a black man strolling round America. I’m telling you I’m coping with these items and I’m telling you my neighborhood is coping with these items, and your response to me is, `Don’t discuss that right here, this isn’t the place.’

“The place is the place Drew?”

Our flag and our anthem are supposed to be symbols of our nation’s most cherished beliefs. To not perceive, to prioritize the previous over the latter that’s the final signal of disrespect. 

Comply with USA TODAY Sports activities columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour

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