On Friday afternoon, President Trump decided to toss fuel on the fire of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ controversy and publicly declared his support for the athlete while admonishing Brees for apologizing for his insensitive remarks about anthem kneeling protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
…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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020
The sports world has been rocked the past few days by Brees’ inexplicable decision to once again reiterate his opposition to the kneeling protests and deliberately miss the entire point of the campaign by his fellow players, instead choosing to delegitimize the acts by smearing them as “disrespect to the flag” and using the bad faith framing that the President and white supremacist media worked so hard to promote.
“I’ll never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag or this country,” said Brees, who went on to invoke his grandfathers’ service in World War II and implicitly made the case that the protests against police brutality and systemic racism was somehow an affront to their courage.
Brees provoked the ire of his own teammates and the sports world at large with his remarks, who deemed them insensitive and inappropriate following the murder of George Floyd by police officers and the nationwide protests that have been raging since his killing.
Trump infamously called kneeling players “sons of bitches” and refused to ever acknowledge the true sentiments behind the kneeling protests, thus proving their point and solidifying himself as a president only for white Americans and a white America.
If Drew Brees wants to prove to his teammates and his fans that he does not also stand for a white America and white Americans, he will publicly disavow the president’s message of support.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.