UPDATED 6/4, 9:11 p.m. ET: Drew Brees took to Instagram to offer another apology.
"I know there’s not much I can say that would make things any better right now but I just want you to see in my eyes how sorry I am for the comments I made yesterday," the Saints quarterback said in the clip. "I know that it hurt many people, especially friends, teammates, former teammates, loved ones, people that I care and respect deeply. That was never my intention."
Watch it below.
See original story below.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was the subject of controversy this week after he made it clear he would not support NFL players kneeling in protests of police brutality during the "Star-Spangled Banner."
When asked for his thoughts on athletes kneeling during the anthem like Colin Kaepernick famously did, the New Orleans Saints quarterback said, "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country."
Less than 24 hours later, he issued an apology.
"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," wrote Brees on Instagram. "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."
In his note, which is accompanied by a stock image of a white hand holding a black hand, he wrote that he stands "with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change." Brees said that he hasn't done enough in the fight for equality, but he has "always been an ally, never an enemy." He added, "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."
The QB ended the letter by stressing that he is "sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday," but he also accepts "full responsibility and accountability" for his comments. "I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness."
Some have taken issue with Brees' apology, especially because he failed to address that there's no connection between kneeling protests and disrespecting the flag. In fact, the First Amendment would dictate that there's few things more American than the right to protest.
He even got called out for the stock photo:
They’re chanting “F**k Drew Brees” at a New Orleans protest 😳pic.twitter.com/EeNDTH7zju
Prior to Brees' apology, multiple professional athletes as well as scores of people online (and IRL) condemned Brees' comments, including LeBron James, Malcolm Jenkins, Richard Sherman, Josh Jacobs, Stephen Jackson, and others.
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 🇺🇸 and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8