(via ESPN) Drew Brees said he felt compelled to speak out against Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem and said Monday that it was “bothering me all day long.”

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 theSan 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.”

Both of Brees’ grandfathers served in World War II, one in the Marines in Okinawa and the other in the Army in India.

“Listen, if I chose to speak out on every issue that I have an opinion about, that’s all I’d do all day. I’d probably have a hundred Twitter posts a day. But this one …,” Brees said without completing his thought.

“I’ve been on five USO trips, so I’ve had a chance to meet and talk with a lot of military personnel. I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of the things that they go through. Also having family that have served and sitting around and listening to my grandfather talk about World War II, so maybe that gives me a heightened level of appreciation for them,” Brees said. “But when I look at that flag, I think about them too. I think about a lot of things. Like when I stand and listen to the national anthem with my hand over my heart, there is emotions that well up inside of me.

“Like, I could shed a tear every time the national anthem plays if I would allow myself because it’s that powerful.”

This story has been bugging me for the last couple of days because I didn’t know how to articulate the way I feel about it. Drew Brees did it for me. I don’t have an issue with what he’s doing, but I do have a problem with the way he’s going about it.

First off, the guy DOES have the freedom to stand up for what he believes in. Thats totally fine. I actually do agree with what he’s saying to a point. There are issues in this country, and I think a pro athlete standing up for people is a great thing.

That said, there HAS to be a better way than this. This makes it seem like he is disregarding the men and women who protect us every day, and that is not a good look. I am a high school coach, and before every single game we stand and hear the National Anthem. Every time that I stand on that court and hear that song throughout the gym I think about how lucky I am. How lucky I am to live in this great country, coaching these great kids, and getting to do the things I love.

It’s almost like he doesn’t see the fact that, by virtue of him living in this great nation, he has the opportunity to play football for a living. The guy is worth MILLIONS of dollars. Do you think he’d still be worth that if he was from Mexico, or Belize, or Spain or wherever? Maybe he would, but chances are pretty good that he wouldn’t.

Colin my man, I love this country and I love the game that you get to play for a living. I love that you have the freedom to stand up (or sit down in this situation) for what you believe in, just like I love that I have the freedom to tell you that you’re dead wrong in how you’re going about it.

 

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–Prent

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