Drew Brees issues apology for 'insensitive' comments

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is facing backlash after saying he will "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country" during an interview with Yahoo Finance.

Posted: Jun 4, 2020 9:20 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2020 9:20 PM

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees issued an apology Thursday for his "insensitive" comments made yesterday in an interview with Yahoo Finance.

Brees has been widely criticized by many fellow athletes, with NBA star LeBron James and Brees' teammate Michael Thomas weighing in.

When asked for his opinion about players kneeling to protest police brutality once the NFL season begins this fall, Brees had said he would "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag."

"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."

But in a statement posted on his Instagram account, the 41-year-old Brees said his comments were "insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.

"I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused."

A Super Bowl XLIV winner in 2010, Brees said respecting the US national anthem is not just about showing respect to the military, but also to anyone who sacrificed for this country, including those in the civil rights movement.

However following the outcry that surrounded his comments, Brees now acknowledges he takes "full responsibility and accountability."

"They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character," said Brees.

In 2017, Brees and his Saints teammates knelt before the national anthem before a game against the Miami Dolphins in London in protest at US President Donald Trump's comments on the NFL and its players. The players stood for the national anthem.

READ: Joshua Kimmich says Bayern Munich is planning to join George Floyd protests

'Always been an ally, never an enemy'

The sporting world has been united in paying its respects to George Floyd after his death in Minnesota, US.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died unarmed after pleading for help as a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes while pinning him to the ground.

While protests continue throughout cities across the US, many athletes such as former NBA players Stephen Jackson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have called for change.

Brees emphasized that he has "always been ally, never an enemy."

"I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference," he said. "I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today.

"I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement.

Visit CNN.com/sport for more news, features, and videos

"I will never know what it's like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 291222

Reported Deaths: 6577
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19470226
Hinds18555383
Harrison16385273
Rankin12498260
Jackson12401216
Lee9635160
Madison9353193
Jones7836144
Forrest7055135
Lauderdale6735225
Lowndes5989137
Lamar579379
Lafayette5688113
Washington5124128
Bolivar4567120
Oktibbeha438091
Panola424092
Warren4091113
Pearl River4070127
Pontotoc406066
Marshall397992
Monroe3971125
Union391372
Neshoba3746166
Lincoln343799
Hancock337773
Leflore3346118
Sunflower315785
Tate299172
Pike297792
Scott291367
Alcorn289760
Itawamba288471
Yazoo282662
Tippah275265
Copiah273357
Coahoma272265
Simpson269278
Prentiss267158
Leake250870
Wayne250140
Marion249478
Covington246277
Grenada244576
Adams232374
George229545
Newton222551
Winston220174
Tishomingo210965
Jasper210343
Attala205669
Chickasaw200250
Holmes181470
Clay177348
Stone170729
Tallahatchie169039
Clarke167671
Calhoun155327
Smith151131
Yalobusha141936
Greene126333
Walthall123040
Noxubee122429
Montgomery120537
Perry120133
Lawrence118420
Carroll117123
Amite110632
Webster108629
Jefferson Davis99831
Tunica97923
Claiborne97329
Benton92524
Humphreys91226
Kemper89222
Quitman76614
Franklin75319
Choctaw69316
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson60827
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 488973

Reported Deaths: 9660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson703321342
Mobile35725716
Madison32088437
Tuscaloosa23913404
Montgomery22369481
Shelby21714209
Baldwin19554263
Lee14827147
Morgan13529243
Etowah13091309
Calhoun13063281
Marshall11197202
Houston10019255
Limestone9303130
Elmore9283179
Cullman8856176
St. Clair8747214
Lauderdale8541209
DeKalb8419173
Talladega7424161
Walker6466240
Jackson6450101
Autauga614384
Blount6058125
Colbert5973118
Coffee522299
Dale4606106
Russell400530
Franklin396575
Covington3918105
Chilton380096
Escambia375970
Tallapoosa3533138
Clarke342348
Dallas3385139
Chambers3382102
Pike292471
Lawrence280685
Marion277492
Winston244563
Marengo243454
Bibb243259
Geneva238168
Pickens223453
Barbour208450
Hale208064
Fayette198755
Butler194865
Henry181741
Cherokee175737
Monroe165538
Randolph161240
Washington155832
Crenshaw143052
Clay142554
Macon140344
Cleburne136139
Lamar130632
Lowndes130148
Wilcox120525
Bullock116033
Conecuh106423
Perry104927
Sumter98231
Greene86732
Coosa86323
Choctaw54723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 67°
Columbus
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 67°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 66°
Starkville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather