Drew Brees Responds to Trump: ‘This Is Not About the Flag’

Drew Brees
Getty Images/Carmen Mandato

Drew Brees addressed President Trump on Friday night after the president criticized him for backing down from his anthem stance. In a statement posted on Twitter, Brees told the president that the anthem protests were “not about the flag,” and that “we as a white community” need to listen and learn from the suffering of the “black communities.”

On Wednesday, Brees had said that he would never agree with anyone who would “disrespect” the flag by kneeling during the national anthem. That stance brought forth a torrent of criticism that eventually persuaded Brees to apologize twice over the next 36 hours.

That flip-flop caused President Trump to tweet at Brees on Friday afternoon, criticizing him for backing down:

On Friday evening, Brees responded to Trump:

Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully, I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial and prison reform.
We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?
We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

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To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

Also on Friday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized to NFL players for “not listening” to them when they were protesting the anthem in 2016 and 2017.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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