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3 Jun, 2020 20:40

Saints & sinners? NFL quarterback Drew Brees criticized by teammate after speaking out against players’ kneeling protests

Saints & sinners? NFL quarterback Drew Brees criticized by teammate after speaking out against players’ kneeling protests

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been criticized by teammate Michael Thomas for saying he does not agree with NFL players' kneeling protests made during the playing of the United States national anthem.

Brees, 41, is considered to be one of the finest quarterbacks in NFL history, but his timing in speaking out against kneeling protests has thrust him into the spotlight.

The statement made by kneeling during the anthem was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick back in 2016 as a protest against police brutality, with many NFL players following his lead.

However, Saints quarterback Brees says that he doesn't want to see the kneeling protests continue to spill over onto the football field.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees told Yahoo.

"Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corps. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.

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"So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about. And in many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed.

"Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ‘60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. 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."

Supporters of Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement would say that the decision to protest during the national anthem has nothing to do with disrespecting the flag of the United States, and it's aimed at highlighting the inequalities in US society that take place under its name. 

And according to Saints receiver Thomas, who amassed 1,725 yards in receptions and nine touchdowns last season on the team led by Brees, his quarterback does not understand the subject of the protests. 

"We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else, how about that," Thomas wrote on Twitter, in an apparent reference to Brees. 

"He don’t know no better," a second tweet, posted minutes later, read.

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016 and has suggested that he has been "blacklisted" by the NFL due to his activism.

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