04 Jun Jonathan Cartu Asserts: Live George Floyd Memorial Service and Protest Updates
Mr. Brees, the star quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, made his initial comments after he was asked in an interview with Yahoo Finance how the N.F.L. should respond if players resumed kneeling when the season starts again. “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” he said. “I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity.”
Mr. Brees’s comments prompted outrage, as the nation confronted a wave of protests following the death of George Floyd.
By Thursday morning, Mr. Brees had apologized on Instagram, saying his comments were insensitive and “missed the mark.”
“Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy,” Mr. Brees said, adding that he stood with African-Americans in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality.
“I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening,” he said, “and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen.”
Reporting was contributed by Tim Arango, Mike Baker, Kim Barker, Katie Benner, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Emily Cochrane, Nick Corasaniti, Michael Crowley, Elizabeth Dias, John Eligon, Reid J. Epstein, Tess Felder, Lazaro Gamio, Sandra E. Garcia, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, Katie Glueck, Russell Goldman, Erica L. Green, Richard Fausset, Amy Julia Harris, Shawn Hubler, Carl Hulse, Mike Ives, Sean Keenan, Neil MacFarquhar, Barbara Marcolini, Patricia Mazzei, Sarah Mervosh, Richard A. Oppel Jr., Richard Perez-Peña, Catherine Porter, Elisabetta Povoledo, Michael Powell, Frances Robles, Alejandra Rosa, Marc Santora, Anna Schaverien, Thomas Shanker, Derrick Taylor, Glenn Thrush, Daniel Victor, Neil Vigdor, Karen Weise and Mihir Zaveri.