NEW ORLEANS — Saints quarterback Drew Brees issued an apology Thursday after being sharply criticized by fellow high-profile athletes over comments he made opposing kneeling during the national anthem.
“I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused,” he said in an Instagram post. “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 right now as a country.”
During a Yahoo interview, Brees commented on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 protest of police brutality against minorities, saying he’ll “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States.”
Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem before games.
Many athletes have repeatedly said the kneeling was about police brutality and social injustice and not about disrespecting the flag or the military.
Brees has said he supports protests against police brutality but the national anthem is not the place.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.