Brees, who told Yahoo that he felt kneeling was “disrespectful” to the military, later apologized for his “insensitivity” after his Black teammates and other sports figures explained the kneeling was in protest of systemic racism. He said he “will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right.”
Kaepernick only started kneeling after conferring with former Green Beret Nate Boyer on the most respectful way to protest.
As might be expected, many Twitter users had strong opinions about Trump’s comments.
Marcus Vanderberg of Yahoo Sports pointed out Friday afternoon that responding to Trump’s tweets would give Brees the chance to show he really meant what he said in his apology.
On Friday night, Brees did address Trump via Instagram and pointedly told the president that “this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been.
He continued: “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”
“We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform.
“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?
“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”