As camp nears, Drew Brees says the impact of his anthem comments ‘completely broke my heart’
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was available to the local media on Saturday via a conference call in preparation for training camp.
Before Brees fielded questions, he delivered an opening statement addressing his comments made on June 3rd about the national anthem and his thoughts and views on social justice in this country.
Here is a transcript of Brees’ address.
“I’ve always been someone who has felt compelled to serve. It’s the main reason why Brittany and I came to New Orleans. That was a time when I really wasn’t sure if I would ever play football again. But I knew that I had a chance to be a part of something much greater than myself. The last 15 years in New Orleans have been some of the proudest and most rewarding moments of our lives. And we tried to dedicate ourselves to creating a lasting legacy of hope, love and progress, especially in this city.
Going back to my comment on June 3, to think for a second that New Orleans or the state of Louisiana or the black community would think that I was not standing with them for social justice, that completely broke my heart. It was crushing. Never ever would I feel that way. I recognize that I missed an opportunity that day. I had an opportunity to talk about and emphasize the social injustices that exist for our black community and our need as a country to support them and to advocate for systemic change. And my lack of awareness in that moment hurt a lot of people.
Now there are three key things I want to make very clear.
No. 1, I will always stand for the flag because of what it means to me and to honor all those who have sacrificed, who have served and died for our country and all those who have struggled to move this country forward.
Second, I acknowledge and respect anyone who chooses to kneel or any other form of peaceful protest to bring attention to the social injustices and systemic racism that so many have endured and continue to endure in our country. I will always support and advocate for the black and brown communities in the fight for social injustices. Always.
Third, I’m the same person now that I’ve always been. I’m someone who cares deeply for people in my community, New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, people everywhere. I’m someone who will always address the inequities and disparities that exist. I’m someone who has great empathy for those who are hurting, struggling, or victims of injustice. And I’m someone who feels a great sense of responsibility to serve and to lead and to bring true equality to everyone.”