Saints quarterback Drew Brees has spoken out tonight against Colin Kaepernick’s protest of National Anthem. Brees told ESPN that the American flag is “sacred” and that he disagrees not with Kaepernick protesting injustice, but the manner in which he has chosen to protest.
The New Orleans Saints quarterback, who has long been a passionate supporter of the military, stressed that he has no issue with Kaepernick’s desire to speak out against racial injustice. He just has an issue with the San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s method of protest. Brees said the American flag is “sacred.”
“I disagree. I wholeheartedly disagree,” Brees told ESPN. “Not that he wants to speak out about a very important issue. No, he can speak out about a very important issue. But there’s plenty of other ways that you can do that in a peaceful manner that doesn’t involve being disrespectful to the American flag.
“The great thing about this country is that we have the freedoms that allow you to speak out openly about any issue. So I’m not commenting on the issue itself because any person has the right to speak out on any issue they want. That’s the great thing about being an American. But the American flag is what represents those freedoms. It represents the very freedom that Colin Kaepernick gets the opportunity to exercise by speaking out his opinion in a peaceful manner about that issue. …
“Like, it’s an oxymoron that you’re sitting down, disrespecting that flag that has given you the freedom to speak out.”
Much has been said and made of the bravery of lodging this protest, but I wonder who will note the courage it takes for Brees to stand against the forces of political correctness that weigh down soheavily on public figures, the wealthy, and celebrities. The consequences of daring to speak out on a racially charged issue, to dissent from liberal orthodoxy, to suggest there is value in respect for America’s institutions and traditions, can be heavy in his peer group. But he spoke anyway.
“I could shed a tear every time the national anthem plays,” said Brees, “because it’s that powerful.”
I could too. It chokes me up. This is true of a vast majority of Americans, I believe. And many of them share the grief and outrage over injustices on our shores. That’s the problem with Kaepernick’s actions.
As Brees notes, it is possible to protest, to object vigorously, to criticize and lament what injustice one sees in a country that should always pursue justice. It’s not only possible, it’s admirable. But there is a difference between fighting for what is right and simply spitting on everything we have and that we are. Not to mention on the graves of those who have defended it.
Colin Kaepernick can refuse to stand for the anthem. That’s his right. And it is Drew Brees’ right, and yours and mine, to say we find it ugly and deliberately sensational and repellent. After all, it’s a free country. It really is.