TAMPA (WFLA) – President Donald Trump on Friday said New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees should not have apologized for comments he made regarding players kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
President Trump said on Twitter: I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high… “We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”
Brees responded on Friday night on Instagram saying:
Brees’ initial remarks came during an interview with Yahoo in which he was asked to revisit former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 protest of police brutality against minorities.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States,” Brees said then, adding that the national anthem reminds him of his grandfathers, who served in the armed forces during World War II. “In many cases, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, and not just 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.”
Brees has said he supports those protesting police brutality but that he does not see the national anthem as the proper forum for that. In 2017, Brees participated with teammates who knelt before the national anthem, but then stood in unison when the anthem was played.
Trump has been a critic of NFL players kneeling in the past, saying in 2018 that “maybe you shouldn’t be in the country” if you don’t stand for the anthem.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.