After seeing Drew Brees’ controversial comments about protesting during the national anthem, and the widespread condemnation that led the New Orleans Saints quarterback to apologize two different times, Maya Moore is happy.
It’s not a fun conversation to have, the Minnesota Lynx star said, but it’s a necessary one.
“As painful as all of this is, this is a great thing, what took place,” Moore said Thursday on ESPN. “It’s hard, because we want to be on the same page. We want to be unified. We want to see each other and validate each other, but you don’t know what you don’t know sometimes. Drew’s original comment of course had some truth in it. You never want to see people disrespect anything that stands for honor.
“But the other half of what Drew, I think, was starting to see — and other people can see — is that this symbol of freedom and bravery in America means that for a portion of the population. There are so many, namely black and brown bodies, in America who have experienced a different America than what the mainstream American flag symbolizes. For centuries in this country, black people were seen as three-fifths of a person.
“So when you hear the national anthem or you see an American flag as an African American person who has experienced the effects of that dehumanizing existence, it’s not going to mean the same.”
Brees, in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, was asked about his thoughts on what the league should do if players start protesting by taking a knee during the national anthem this season — something former quarterback Colin Kaepernick started doing during the 2016 season.
Brees responded by saying that he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag,” which quickly sparked harsh backlash from the sports world. Brees apologized in a lengthy Instagram post on Thursday morning, and then again on Thursday night in an Instagram video.
Moore, a six-time All-Star and former league MVP, has taken a two-year hiatus from the league largely to help overturn the conviction of Jonathan Irons, whom she believes was wrongly imprisoned for decades. That conviction was finally overturned in March.
Moore said that seeing the widespread protests and riots that came following George Floyd’s death and the viral video of his arrest — which showed a white Minneapolis police officer with his knee in the back of Floyd’s neck for more than seven minutes while he yelled out, “I can’t breathe” — has been overwhelming.
Still, though, she’s hopeful.
“I think right now we’re having our eyes opened to the bad news of what’s going on, but also I think now people are able to have their eyes on the good news of where we can go and who we can become now that we’ve actually started to acknowledge where we are,” Moore said on ESPN.
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