Colin Kaepernick, 32, is known for protesting against police brutality and racial inequality in the United States by kneeling during the national anthem. For his fellow National Football League star Drew Brees, 41, this method of protest is disrespectful to the American flag.
While battling against the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the U.S. is facing series of protests following the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and David McAtee. The 101st NFL season is scheduled to start on September 10, 2020 and players are expected to kneel again during the national anthem.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America,” Brees recently told Yahoo! Finance. This statement earned the ire not only of Americans but of people from different countries.
In World War II, both of Brees’ grandfathers fought for the U.S. military. This is what she thinks about every time he stands with his hand over his heart while looking at the U.S. flag and singing the national anthem.
“(I am) thinking about all that has been sacrificed not just those in the military but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movement of the ’60s and all that has been endured by so many people and is everything right with our country right now?” Brees explained. “No, it’s 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,” Brees continued. “We can all do better and we are all part of the solution.”
This is consistent with Brees’ statements in 2016 when he supported Kaepernick’s right to protest but not the method of the protest. This is because the flag is sacred for Brees.
“I wholeheartedly disagree, not that he wants to speak out about a very important issue,” Brees told ESPN. “No, he can speak out about a very important issue but there’s plenty of other ways that you can do that in a peaceful manner that doesn’t involve being disrespectful to the American flag.”
Having played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to 2016, Kaepernick is currently a free agent. On the other hand, Brees has been playing for the New Orleans Saints since 2006.