George Floyd’s murder has brought everyone on the same platform and during NFL games, players started to take the knee in protest against the police system. However, New Orleans Saints quarterback said that he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag”. This did not sit well with his teammates and other players including LeBron James who began to criticize his statement.
On Wednesday, Brees was asked about taking the knee during his upcoming game and he said that the National Anthem is about showing respect to the military and also people who sacrifice their lives for your country.
“And is everything right with our country right now? No, it’s not,” Brees said in the interview. “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.”
Just a few hours after the interview, LeBron James took to Twitter to express his anger over the comment. “You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee??” James said in a tweet, referencing Colin Kaepernick. “Has absolutely nothing to do with the disrespect of (the flag of the United States) and our soldiers.”
James said that his own father was in the military and he did not find anything wrong with Kaepernick who famously knelt during the national anthem to protest against racial injustice “because he and I both know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong!”
A wide receiver of the Saints, Micheal Thomas, retweeted a comment from a journalist saying, “How can anyone watch George Floyd get murdered and their first response when asked about it is ResPEcC tHe fLAg.” Thomas added a puking emoji next to it.
Malcolm Jenkins, safety for the Saints reacted by posting a four-minute emotional video where he expressed his disappointment in Brees.
“When I step off the field and I take my helmet off, I’m a black man walking around in America and I’m telling you I’m dealing with these things, I’m telling you my communities are dealing with these things, and your response to me is don’t talk about that here … where is the place, Drew?”
“When the world tells you that you’re not worthy, that your life doesn’t matter, the last place you want to hear it from are the guys that you go to war with and the guys you consider to be your allies and your friends,” Jenkins said. “Even though we’re teammates, I can’t let this slide.”
Right now, 70% of all NFL players are black. However, when they knelt during the anthem in 2018 to protest against police brutality, a policy was made to punish the players. Later, the punishment was revoked but the players are still not allowed to protest against any injustices on the field.