VIDEO SHOWS: DREW BREES' APOLOGY POSTED ON HIS INSTAGRAM PAGE, COMMENTS MADE BY LEBRON JAMES ON HIS TWITTER PAGE, FILE PHOTOGRAPHS OF DREW BREES AND SOUNDBITES OF BREES TALKING ABOUT PLAYERS TAKING THE KNEE IN 2017
INTERNET (JUNE 4, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)
1. VARIOUS OF NEW ORLEANS SAINTS QUARTERBACK DREW BREES APOLOGY POSTED ON HIS INSTAGRAM PAGE, READING:
"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.
IN AN ATTEMPT TO TALK ABOUT RESPECT, UNITY, AND SOLIDARITY CENTERED AROUND THE AMERICAN FLAG AND THE NATIONAL ANTHEM, I MADE COMMENTS THAT WERE INSENSITIVE AND COMPLETELY MISSED THE MARK ON THE ISSUES WE ARE FACING RIGHT NOW AS A COUNTRY. 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.
THIS IS WHERE I STAND:
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.
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.
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.
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AN ALLY, NEVER AN ENEMY.
I AM SICK ABOUT THE WAY MY COMMENTS WERE PERCEIVED YESTERDAY, BUT I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY. I RECOGNIZE THAT I SHOULD DO LESS TALKING AND MORE LISTENING...AND WHEN THE BLACK COMMUNITY IS TALKING ABOUT THEIR PAIN, WE ALL NEED TO LISTEN.
FOR THAT, I AM VERY SORRY AND I ASK YOUR FORGIVENESS."
INTERNET (JUNE 3, 2020) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE - ACCESS ALL) (MUTE)
2. MESSAGE POSTED ON LEBRON JAMES' TWITTER PAGE, READING (English): "WOW MAN!! IS IT STILL SURPRISING AT THIS POINT. SURE ISN'T! YOU LITERALLY STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY KAP WAS KNEELING ON ONE KNEE?? HAS ABSOLUTE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DISRESPECT OF FLAG OF UNITED STATES AND OUR SOLDIERS (MEN AND WOMEN) WHO KEEP OUR LAND FREE. MY FATHER-IN-LAW WAS ONE OF THOSE..."
3. MESSAGE POSTED ON LEBRON JAMES' TWITTER PAGE, READING (English): "MEN WHO FOUGHT AS WELL FOR THIS COUNTRY. I ASKED HIM QUESTION ABOUT IT AND THANK HIM ALL THE TIME FOR HIS COMMITEMENT. HE NEVER FOUND KAP PEACEFUL PROTEST OFFENSIVE BECAUSE HE AND I BOTH KNOW WHAT'S RIGHT IS RIGHT AND WHAT'S WRONG IS WRONG! GOD BLESS YOU."
KISSIMMIEE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (FILE - JANUARY 22, 2020) (USA TODAY SPORTS - MUST COURTESY USA TODAY SPORTS) (MUTE)
4. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF BREES THROWING BALL DURING A PRACTICE SESSION
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FILE - SEPTEMBER 27, 2017) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL)
5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS QUARTERBACK, DREW BREES, SAYING: (RESPONDING TO QUESTION ON PLAYERS TAKING THE KNEE DURING NATIONAL ANTHEM)
"I still feel like that if you are an American you should stand and show respect to the flag and what it symbolizes. Certainly, I respect the cause (of protests). I think what you saw last weekend especially was a direct result of the comments the president made, President Trump. Unfortunately, I think he put all athletes, all black athletes, all minority athletes, he put them in a corner and he forced them to take action. That was unfortunate that he made the comments that he made. I don't blame the guys for feeling like they needed to do something as a reaction to that."
6. WHITE FLASH
7. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ORLEANS SAINTS QUARTERBACK, DREW BREES, SAYING:
"We want to find something we can do together that shows unity and does not show division. At the same point I think there is... Again, I think we are all very much on the same page as far as the cause is justified but it is just the means by which, whatever you want to call it, the protests, the awareness is raised. How can we do that in a respectful manner?"
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, UNITED STATES (FILE - JANUARY 5, 2020) (USA TODAY SPORTS - MUST COURTESY USA TODAY SPORTS) (MUTE)
8. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF BREES DURING NEW ORLEANS SAINTS' NFC WILD CARD PLAYOFF GAME AGAINST THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS
9. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF BREES THROWING A BALL DURING THE WARM-UP FOR THE GAME
10. STILL PHOTOGRAPH OF BREES CELEBRATING AFTER A TOUCHDOWN RUN BY RUNNING BACK ALVIN KAMARA (NOT PICTURED) DURING THE GAME AGAINST THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS
STORY: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees issued a lengthy apology on Thursday (June 4) for comments he made about kneeling protests being disrespectful to the American flag that drew criticism on social media.
Brees was asked during an appearance on Yahoo Finance's On the Move on Wednesday (June 3) about the possibility of players protesting against racial injustice by kneeling during the anthem when the NFL's 2020 season kicks off in September.
The 41-year-old, widely regarded as one of the best passers in NFL history, said: "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country."
Colin Kaepernick popularized the gesture of kneeling during pre-game renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 2016 while a member of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.
Kneeling has become a symbol of the fight against police brutality used by protesters who have flooded the streets of U.S. cities in the wake of the death last week of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
"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," said Brees in an Instagram post alongside a picture of white and black hands shaking.
"In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.
"In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.
"They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy."
Moments after the original comments became public the backlash was swift with team mates and other sport greats slamming Brees for his insensitivity.
"WOW MAN!! Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn't! You literally still don't understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee??" Los Angeles Lakers player and NBA great LeBron James posted on Twitter.
Brees said he took full responsibility for his remarks and felt "sick" over how they were perceived.
"I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening... and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen," he added.
(Production: Tim Hart)