Despite doubling down on his "insensitive" comments regarding his beliefs on "taking a knee," Drew Brees has now issued an apology, saying his "comments lacked awareness and any type of compassion."
On Wednesday (June 3), Yahoo Sports published an interview with the New Orleans Saints quarterback where he boldly stated that he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States" when asked about the movement that Colin Kaepernick started in 2016.
"Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States," he said before talking about his two grandfathers, who he says fought in the military during World War II.
"Both [risked] their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place," he shared. "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."
Doubling down on his statement, he later told ESPN:
"I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regard to fighting for racial equality and justice. I also stand with my grandfathers, who risked their lives for this country, and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."
However, after major backlash from athletes across the country, including his own teammates, Drew seemed to have some kind of change of heart and issued an apology on Instagram early Thursday morning.
"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 wrote. "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," Drew continued. "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."
He went on the explain where he "stands," sharing his alleged support of the black community.
See his full statement below.