Wednesday’s comments from Saints quarterback Drew Brees did not go over well with many figures in the sports world, including teammate Malcolm Jenkins.
Another teammate, defensive end Marcus Davenport, has taken to Twitter to defend Brees.
“Drew wasn’t talking about the current protest, the riots or really anything besides HIS feelings on kneeling during the National Anthem,” Davenport said. “He even explained what they were, the basis and that he actually stands with us. Do we have to entirely agree with him, no.”
Brees may not have been directly talking about the current protest or recent riots, but the comments came at a time when everyone is keenly aware of the protesting and the rioting sparked by the exact problem that Colin Kaepernick and others were trying to address by peacefully protesting during the national anthem: Mistreatment of minorities by law enforcement.
Another Saints defensive end, Cameron Jordan, reacted negatively to Davenport’s tweet.
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, but this ain’t it,” Jordan said. “Does it seemingly denounce the focal point of what the intended kneeling was meant for, yes!”
The problem, magnified by recent events but present from the moment people began to complain about Kaepernick’s gesture, comes from the knee-jerk presumption that exercising First Amendment rights granted by the nation for which the flag stands automatically and always constitutes disrespect of the nation, the flag, and/or the military — even when those protesting during the anthem explain repeatedly why they are doing it.
It’s ironic, to say the least, that many of the same people who justify an NFL franchise using a dictionary-defined slur by claiming that no offense is intended would refuse to accept the explanation from Kaepernick and others that, when protesting during the anthem, no offense is intended.