NFL

Drew Brees Doesn’t Deserve a Free Pass and His Past History Reveals Why

When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.

Maya Angelou

Drew Brees showed who he was this week when he said he disagreed with any player like Colin Kaepernick that kneeled because it was disrespectful to the flag. After immense blowback, Brees apologized twice.

On closer inspection, Brees has revealed himself on other occasions in the past. And quite honestly, it’s not pretty. If we are supposed to believe people reveal themselves the first time and Drew Brees has made questionable statements and taken controversial stances on multiple occasions, it begs the question—which Drew Brees are we to believe?

Drew Brees makes inflammatory statements then apologizes

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As Americans have taken to the streets protesting police brutality and social injustice, Drew Brees inserted himself into the conversation and not in a good way. The affable Brees was being interviewed by Yahoo Finance when he was questioned about players kneeling during the national anthem.

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played, and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.” 

The criticism was immediate and included everyone from his own teammates to other athletes, including LeBron James. The next day Brees apologized not once, but twice. 

“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.”

This wasn’t the first time Brees backpedaled faster than an NFL free safety defending one of his passes.

Brees appeared in video for anti-LGBTQ group in 2019 

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At the start of last football season, Brees’ 19th in the NFL, the Saints star quarterback appeared in a promotional video for “Bring Your Bible to School Day. In the video, Brees quotes a scripture then encourages the youth to live out their faith and share God’s love with friends.

On the surface, it sounds like a positive message. Unfortunately, there’s a dark twist. The group behind the video is Focus on the Family, a conservative evangelical group with a history of opposing gay and transgender rights. When Brees was questioned about the video and the organization it was produced for, he took to Twitter and released a video saying he lives by the Christian principle “love your neighbor as yourself” and to Brees, that means “Love all. Respect all. Accept all.”

In a press conference with media, Brees said he was not aware of the organization lobbying for anti-gay, or any type of messaging on inequality or any type of hate-related stuff. “I was not aware of that at all,” he said.

If Brees truly wasn’t aware of the organization’s beliefs, then he didn’t look very hard. The Focus on the Family website has an entire section devoted to homosexuality, including pages on specific situations like “Grown Son Wants to Bring Gay Partner to Family Gatherings” or “Parents Concerned About Young Kids Interacting With Gay Neighbors.”

As of this writing, there are multiple pages on the Focus on the Family website still linked to Drew Brees, including a family profile page (posted in 2015) and another featuring a downloadable digital audio file (posted in 2019) titled “Growing Stronger Through Adversity.”

Drew Brees talks of Guantanamo Bay and how well prisoners are treated

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In 2009, Drew Brees took a trip to Guantanamo Bay as part of a U.S.O. Tour. After his trip, he went on the radio for an interview and had some interesting things to say.

“I can say this after that experience — the worst thing we can do is shut that baby down, for a lot of reasons. But I think there’s a big misconception as to how we are treating those prisoners — those detainees over there. They are being treated probably ten times better than any prisoner in a U.S. prison. They’re on a 6,500 calorie-a-day diet whereas a normal U.S. prisoner is on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet…. I think the international media — there’s just been so much scrutiny over the way that we’re treating these guys; it’s almost like we’re going overboard to treat them so well. I mean, they’re allowed to call and write letters home, and receive letters and calls.”

Brees also talked about how, at one point during his visit, the prisoners started yelling, “Torture! Torture!” They thought Brees and his traveling party were members of the media and were trying to call attention to their treatment. That was apparently lost on Brees.

So you know, anything that they can do to show a poor light on the U.S. military, they’re going to do it. Because it seems like they’re being treated very, very well over there.

Drew Brees

According to human rights organizations Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Brees’ assertions that the Guantanamo prisoners are living high on the hog couldn’t be further from the truth. Both organizations have condemned Guantanamo Bay because it is considered a significant violation of human rights as it has prisoners on indefinite detention without trial and has a notable record of torture.

Drew Brees has taken stances and made statements in the past that have raised eyebrows. He’s done it again on kneeling and it being disrespectful to the flag. At what point will the words of Maya Angelou carry any weight?

When will we finally believe Brees for who he has shown us to be on multiple occasions, and not give him a free pass just because he’s done so much good work in the community? There are plenty of people doing good works that don’t praise places known for torture, don’t film promotional videos for organizations who have a track record of being anti-gay, and don’t question those standing up for social injustice.