LeBron, Sports World React to Drew Brees' Anthem Comments

Tim Kelly
June 03, 2020 - 1:00 pm

New Orelans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees had a strong answer Wednesday when asked about his lack of support for peaceful protests during the national anthem. Two of his teammates were quick to fire back on Twitter.

Michael Thomas, who set an NFL record with 149 receptions in 2019, didn't beat around the bush with his thoughts about his teammates' statement:

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees told Daniel Roberts of Yahoo! Finance.

Having played together for the last four seasons, Brees and Thomas have built a very strong rapport on the field. However, Brees is yet to play with veteran Emmanuel Sanders, who the Saints inked to a two-year/$24 million deal this offseason to attempt to alleviate some of the pressure on Thomas. Sanders, who says he cried when watching the video of George Floyd being murdered by a police officer, appeared to take exception to Brees' comments as well:

NBA icon LeBron James also ripped Brees:

The latest star to chime in on the matter is fellow future Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who shared his thoughts through an Instagram post.

In the past, Brees had been critical of former San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality against African-Americans. He reiterated Wednesday that he doesn't support the method when it comes to peacefully protesting before games.

"Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers - who fought for this country during World War II, one in the army and one in the marine corps - both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart, looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that's what I think about. And in many cases it brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed - not just those in the military, but for that matter those throughout the civil rights movements of the 1960s and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it's 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 a part of the solution."

After his two most prominent wide receivers spoke out, Brees did issue another statement on the matter to ESPN's Mike Triplett.

"I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice," Brees said. "I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."

Brees, 41, is a future Hall of Famer that most believe will retire after the 2020 season. He's scheduled to become an announcer for NBC after his career concludes.

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