New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has apologized for his comments on protests during the national anthem. John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Brees apologizes on Instagram: 'I stand with the black community'

After receiving nearly universal criticism for saying that he will "never agree" with someone taking a knee during the national anthem, Drew Brees took to Instagram this morning to post an apology.

"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," Brees wrote. "In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused."

Brees posted a photo of a white hand and black hand clasping, along with a lengthy caption where he admitted that he "made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country."

"I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference," Brees wrote.


View this post on Instagram

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. 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. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening...and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.
A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

In the last 24 hours, Brees has been called out by several professional athletes, including LeBron James. And while former teammate Joe Horn came to Brees' defense, many of his current and former teammates condemned his statement. Receiver Michael Thomas tweeted out criticism of Brees and safety Malcolm Jenkins posted an emotional video in response to Brees' statement. Their words appear to have affected Brees, who acknowledged some of his shortcomings in the post while saying that he is not 'an enemy.'

"I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right."

It's worth noting that Brees does not actually say that he has changed his position on protesting the flag, so it will be interesting to see how his apology is perceived. Will teammates and players across the league accept his words or could they be seen as a hollow attempt to save his image? Only time will tell.

Blake Harper is a writer based in New York. He's originally from San Diego and is one of the few Chargers fans left. He doesn't believe in ties and loves elaborate celebrations. Follow him on Twitter @beezyharps 

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