New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees urged President Donald Trump on Friday night to stop describing NFL players’ silent actions during the national anthem as disrespect for the U.S. flag as he walked back his own comments earlier this week about patriotism and protests.
In an Instagram post addressed directly to Trump, who had defended Brees’s criticism of social justice protests, the quarterback said: “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,” he added. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”
Brees had told Yahoo Finance on Wednesday that he would “never agree with anyone” participating in national anthem protests during the NFL’s 2020 season.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America,” he had said.
But after many people, including his teammates and other NFL players, criticized Brees, he offered an apology Thursday and vowed to be an ally for the Black community in its fight against “systematic racial injustice.”
Trump tweeted on Friday, however, that Brees should not have disavowed his original statement.
I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020
...We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020
Brees posted his first...