Sports Brees will stand for anthem, but respects those who kneel
Drew Brees says reaction to his anthem comments was 'crushing'
Though he clarified he will stand for the anthem in the 2020 NFL season, Drew Brees once again expressed regret over his initial comments.The New Orleans Saints quarterback was widely criticized by teammates and other players in the NFL back in June when he suggested those who do not stand for the Star-Spangled Banner are "disrespecting the flag.
NEW ORLEANS — Saints quarterback Drew Brees says he will continue to stand for the American flag but respects and supports any form of peaceful demonstration — including kneeling during the national anthem — by those protesting social injustice and systemic racism.
“I’ll always stand for the flag because of what it means to me and to honour all those who have sacrificed, who have served and died for our country, and all those who have struggled to move this country forward,” Brees said Saturday in a conference call with media to discuss the onset of training camp.
Report: Pelicans, Jazz discussing kneeling in unison during anthem
The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz are discussing holding a joint protest during the national anthem before they play the first game of the NBA season's restart Thursday, sources told ESPN's Malika Andrews. The two teams have reportedly discussed kneeling together around the "Black Lives Matter" signage on the court, a visual that the league implemented for the restart. Coaches are expected to join players in the protest, Andrews adds. Players from the top eight teams participating in the seeding games reportedly held recent meetings and discussed their intentions to kneel during the anthem on the opening days of the resumption.
“I acknowledge and respect anyone who chooses to kneel or any other form of peaceful protest to bring attention to social injustice and system racism that so many have endured and continue to endure in our country,” Brees continued, adding that he “always will support and advocate for Black an brown communities in the fight for social justice.”
The 41-year-old Brees, who is the NFL's all-time leader in yards passing, completions and touchdowns, is entering his 20th NFL season and 15th with the New Orleans Saints.
Brees became seen by many as a symbol of white privilege when he reiterated his long-held opposition to anyone kneeling during the national anthem, saying he would never approve of anyone disrespecting the flag. Those comments came as protests were proliferating across the country in response to a white Minneapolis police officer's video-recorded killing of George Floyd, who is Black.
All NBA players of the first game kneel during the anthem
© Ashley Landis / Pool AP / dpa All players of the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz kneel in front of a “Black Lives Matter” lettering. To start the rest of the season in the NBA, all players in the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans knelt down just before playing the US national anthem. The basketball players also wore black T-shirts with white letters and the slogan “Black lives matter”.
Brees faceda scathing backlash from several current and former Black teammates and other high profile athletes such as LeBron James. But the quarterback apologized soon afterward and said he realizes now that protesting by kneeling during the anthem, initiated by former San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick in 2016, was “never about the flag.”
Brees revisited his June comments and his regret about making them on Saturday.
“To think for a second that New Orleans or the State of Louisiana, or the Black community would think I was not standing with them for social justice, that completely broke my heart. It was crushing. Never, ever would I feel that way,” Brees said.
“I recognize that I missed an opportunity that day. I had an opportunity to talk about and emphasize the social injustices that exist for our Black community and our need as country to support them and advocate for systemic change. And my lack of awareness in that moment hurt a lot of people.”
Giants manager Gabe Kapler, players kneel during anthem
OAKLAND, Calif. — San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler and several of his players knelt during the national anthem before Monday night's exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics. Right fielder Jaylin Davis and first base coach Antoan Richardson, both African American, also took a knee as shortstop Brandon Crawford stood between them with a hand on each of their shoulders. Davis held his right hand over his heart, while Richardson clasped his hands in front of him. Kapler, beginning his first season managing the Giants after two disappointing years guiding the Phillies, didn't discuss his plans to kneel in a pregame session with media members.
Brees added that he has had many conversation with teammates since then and particularly in recent days and that they have “reconciled and put closure on anything from the past, and we are moving forward to focusing on the issues of social justice that face really our entire country.”
Brees singled out safety Malcolm Jenkins, who had been among his harshest critics on social media before Brees' public apology, saying, "I am a friend of Malcolm, I am his teammate and I am his ally. There are many things that we’re having a conversation about working on together. All of our goals are aligned.”
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Brett Martel, The Associated Press
Video: Artists leave their mark on the Black Lives Matter movement | Being Black in Canada (cbc.ca)
Report: Mets sign Bruce Maxwell, 1st MLB player to kneel during anthem .
The New York Mets have agreed to a minor-league contract with catcher Bruce Maxwell, who was the only major leaguer to kneel during the U.S. national anthem prior to the 2020 campaign, sources told Tim Healey of Newsday on Tuesday. Maxwell is reportedly in New York to take a physical and a coronavirus intake test. The 29-year-old hasn't played in the majors since 2018 with the Oakland Athletics. He first kneeled prior to a contest in September 2017 to protest racial injustice.Maxwell also made headlines in October 2017 when he was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after a woman said he pointed a gun at her.