Drew Brees’ grandfathers went out the window pretty quickly.
In just 24 hours, Brees went from flag-waving pillar of American patriotism — the type of person President Donald Trump would be proud of — to a groveling soul.
Did Brees see the light, or just his Twitter mentions? You know it’s the latter.
One minute, Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback, had his chest stuck out and told anyone who would listen that the flag meant more to him than anything because his grandfathers fought in World War II. He doubled down on his anti-Kaepernick stance even as Black America was hurting from yet another uncalled-for death in our community at the hands of a white cop.
Worse, in his my-views-matter-more comments, Brees clearly wasn’t interested in the plight of the black and brown man.
On Wednesday, Brees had come around and issued an apology suitable for framing.
The hardcore stance was gone. The bravado was silenced. It should come as no surprise that many people came at Brees, including some teammates who flat-out denounced him and his words during this crisis.
In an Instagram post, Brees said he was apologizing to his friends, teammates, New Orleans, the black community, the NFL community, and “anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday.”
On Wednesday, as massive protests continued all over America in the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of a white cop in Minneapolis, Brees was as smug as you could be for a multimillionaire quarterback, living in his own world, far from the reality many black people face.
Hence, it was easy to fall back on old reliable — wrapping himself in the flag and talking about ideals, not the situation at hand.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Brees said that if kneeling for the anthem started up again this coming season, he would be against it.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United State of America or our country.”
It took so many back to 2016 when Colin Kaepernick first took a knee. Kap did his own silent, peaceful protest against police brutality and social injustice.
Kaepernick was ahead of anyone. He pointed out the disease plaguing the country. And while bodies piled up, others — including many of his NFL brethren — turned a blind eye to his message.
But it came into focus when Floyd was killed in living color, in front of the whole world to see. The cop’s actions were a total disregard for black life.
Just like that. Kaepernick was right, justified.
That’s why Brees’ comments cut so many people so deep. Four years ago, many allowed others to cloud the message, derail the movement.
“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 now as a country,” Brees wrote Wednesday. “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 the enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and this is not an accurate reflection of my heart and character.”
Indeed, Brees was knocked off his high horse. Humbled.
The real next question is: Anybody else?
After what happened to Brees, we doubt it. Can’t believe any other flag-waving person will step forward.
Somehow, Brees thought this was 2016 and people were going to go for the okiedoke - again.
It’s clear black people will not allow anyone — not even a star quarterback, beloved before his recent comments — change the narrative.
Too often, people have used patriotism to cover their racism.
They wanted to tell black and brown people how to protest. To tell them what’s acceptable.
It’s ludicrous to think that there’s one correct, textbook way to push back against the people and ideas that make life in Black America a living hell.
This time around, to the credit of many — including some of the NFLers who originally shunned Kaepernick — it won’t happen here. Those who veer from the real message will be denounced, discounted, and disregarded.
Brees learned the hard way.
And that’s why he apologized.