Drew Brees' comments about kneeling during the national anthem and disrespecting the flag of the United States caused outrage across the country in June.
The New Orleans Saints quarterback later retracted those comments, stating he stands with the Black community and will better educate himself on the topics of racial injustice and police brutality.
On Saturday, Brees stated the reaction to his original comments "broke my heart," according to ESPN's Mike Triplett, and said he'll always respect anyone's decision to kneel during the national anthem. However, Brees also mentioned that he will remain standing during the national anthem once NFL games begin this season.
"I will always support and advocate for the Black and Brown communities in the fight for social justice. Always. ... I'm the same person now that I've always been. I'm someone who cares deeply for people in my community, New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, people everywhere. I'm someone who will always address the inequities and the disparities that exist. I'm someone who has great empathy for those who are hurting, struggling or victims of injustice. And I'm someone who feels a great sense of responsibility to serve and to lead and to bring true equality to everyone."
Brees' original comments were met with confusion and anger from his teammates. Wide receiver Michael Thomas didn't seem too happy with Brees' comments. However, all of his teammates have accepted his sincere apology since the incident occurred.
To show his commitment to minorities, Brees and his wife pledged $5 million dedicated to providing health care in underserved communities.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in 2016, and many people took it out of context, thinking he was disrespecting the military and the flag of the United States.
As Kaepernick's movement swept the NFL by storm, resulting in many players taking a knee, he was eventually ousted by the league that same year as no one wanted to sign him for the 2017 campaign. Although he's far more talented than many quarterbacks currently under contract in the NFL, the 32-year-old hasn't been able to land a gig despite recently holding a workout.