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Brees: I'll stand for the national anthem, but respect those who will kneel

Saturday, in a prepared statement read before he began answering questions, Brees apologized for the comments, saying his lack of awareness "hurt a lot of people."
Credit: AP
NFC quarterback Drew Brees, of the New Orleans Saints, walks off the field at halftime during the NFL Pro Bowl football game against the AFC, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano)

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees said during his first media availability since January that the team was in a good place after he reconciled with other members of the team over his comments about kneeling for the national anthem. 

In June, Brees made headlines and sparked backlash from both fans and teammates when he said he would never agree with somebody who disrespected the American flag by kneeling during the anthem. 

Many speculated that the comments, which several current teammates spoke out against publicly, had caused a rift in the Saints locker room. 

But Saturday, in a prepared statement read before he began answering questions, Brees apologized for the comments, saying his lack of awareness "hurt a lot of people."

"To think for a second that New Orleans, or the state of Louisiana, or the Black community, would think that I was not standing with them for social justice – that completely broke my heart. It was crushing," Brees said. "Never, ever would I feel that way. I recognize that I missed an opportunity that day." 

In the statement, which was later posted to the Saints' website, Brees acknowledged that he would continue to stand for the flag, but said he respected the decision by many in the NFL to take a knee. 

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