In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Brees doubled down on his prior stance of disagreeing with NFL players' protests during the national anthem.
"I believe we should all stand for the national anthem and respect our country and all those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms", Brees said via text message.
"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 also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis". "But, I think what you do by standing there and showing respect for the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity".
Players took a knee or raised a fist after Kaepernick began doing so in the summer of 2016 and Kaepernick and others repeatedly made it clear their intent was not to criticize the military, even as President Trump and others attempted to link the protests to patriotism. Brees then stated, "Is everything right with our country right now?" We still have a long way to go. What's inexcusable is, as LeBron pointed out, his inability to understand that Kaepernick's protest was never about disrespecting the flag, but about standing up for justice, and that, especially in the light of George Floyd's death, those protests would have renewed relevance.
Brees's remarks came one day after Sean Payton offered an impassioned take on social media that Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery were "murdered not killed" and calling for change in the November elections.
The New Orleans Saints star faced immediate backlash over the comments, and Michael Thomas was among those who called Brees out. Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of (the flag) and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free.
"He's beyond lost. Guarantee you there were black men fighting along side your grandfather but this doesn't seem to be about that".
"He don't know no better", Thomas tweeted.
Said Thomas in a subsequent post: "We don't care if you don't agree and whoever else how about that". Don't avoid the issue and try to make it about a flag or the military.
Former NFLer and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark also chimed in with his perception of Brees' comments.
Brees and his wife, Brittany, have been heavily involved in charitable efforts throughout his 19-year National Football League career, including a recent donation of $5 million to help Louisiana during the coronavirus pandemic.