Twenty-four hours ago, the last person anyone in New Orleans ever would have had an issue with is future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees. What a difference a single day can make.
After Brees reiterated his stance on protests during the national anthem, explaining that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees has suffered a backlash from within his own team, from others in the NFL, and from NBA great LeBron James. On the streets of New Orleans, during a Wednesday night protest sparked by the murder nine days ago of George Floyd, an anti-Brees chant briefly broke out.
“F–k Drew Brees,” a portion of the crowd chanted for several seconds, via Bryn Stole of the New Orleans Advocate.
It apparently wasn’t prolonged, and it definitely wasn’t deafening, involving just a handful of people, by all appearances. But the mere fact that even a pocket of people in New Orleans would even utter that phrase is jarring, and it demonstrates that Brees likely has some work to do to make this right — and that time is likely of the essence.
On one hand, it’s unfair to Brees, who has done more for New Orleans than any athlete in the history of the city, capped by a recent donation of $5 million for COVID-19 relief. On the other hand, the reaction both within sports and beyond shows how quickly and easily goodwill can be squandered if someone lands on the wrong side of the current cry for change when it comes to the treatment of minorities in American society.