Three days after Colin Kaepernick opted not to stand for the National Anthem, responses from NFL players continue to trickle in. Saints quarterback Drew Brees had this to say, via ESPN’s Mike Triplett:
Drew Brees said he felt compelled to speak out against Colin Kaepernick’s method of protest Monday, saying it was “bothering me all day long.” The Saints quarterback, who is a passionate military supporter, said the American flag is “sacred.” “I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree,” Brees said. “Not that he wants to speak out about a very important issue. 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.”
Brees continued (again via Triplett):
“I think the important point to make here is that flag symbolizes, represents the freedoms that you have the chance as an American to exercise. So sitting down for that, that is a blatant disrespect of the freedoms that that gives you. Like it’s an oxymoron that you’re sitting down, disrespecting that flag that has given you the freedom to speak out.”
Previously, Malcolm Jenkins, Justin Pugh, and Anquan Boldin weighed in. So have Jim Harbaugh, Jay Gruden, and Ben McAdoo (who had more to say about this story than he did about very serious domestic violence allegations against his kicker Josh Brown, which he totally passed the buck on last week).
Meanwhile, Richard Sherman understood what Kaepernick is protesting, but said he “could have picked a better platform.”
Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times transcribed:
I thought that was interesting. Obviously, what he meant was in a good place. He wanted to make a stand. Obviously, anytime you don’t stand during the national anthem, people are going to criticize it. And that’s the unfortunate part of it. You can’t ever stand against the flag. A lot of people have sacrificed for it. But there is also a deeper meaning to what he did. He’s talking about the oppression of African Americans in this country. And that has been going on for a long time. I think a lot of the focus has shifted away from his message and shifted to some people, rightfully so, to him taking a stand against the nation, etc., etc.
But I think there are also things in this nation that people need to remember and take heed of and also acknowledge. This country is the same country that had ‘whites’ and ‘colored’ signs on the bathroom. We’re still in that country, we’re still in that nation. And that needs to be acknowledged and that needs to be changed. There are people with that mentality that still exists, and that needs to change. There are people who still treat people of color with subjectivity. They treat them a certain way. They categorize them. They put them in a certain category. There are certain statistics that are put out there to make sure police profile certain people in certain neighborhoods, and that needs to change. So there is some depth and some truth to what he’s doing. I think he could have picked a better platform and a better way to do it, but every day they say athletes are so robotic and do everything by the book. And then when somebody takes a stand like that, he gets his head chopped off.
Sherman had a follow-up quote in response to a question about Muhammad Ali that can be read here. Here are some of our site’s thoughts on the story: