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'I ask your forgiveness': NFL star Drew Brees shamed into apologizing for comments on kneeling protests

'I ask your forgiveness': NFL star Drew Brees shamed into apologizing for comments on kneeling protests
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has taken to Instagram to issue a full and detailed apology for his statement regarding the NFL players' kneeling protests during the US national anthem.

Brees, who stated in a recent interview with Yahoo that "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," has been forced to make a u-turn following a backlash, with criticism coming from a number of the US sport's household names and even his own teammates.

Perhaps one of the biggest names on that list was NBA superstar LeBron James, who took to Twitter shortly after the interview was published.

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"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 [the flag] and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free," tweeted the Los Angles Lakers power forward.

"My father-in-law was one of those men who fought as well for this country. I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitment. 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."

A day after making his initial comments, Brees has issued a lengthy apology in a statement posted to his Instagram page.

"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," he began.

"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.

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"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."

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