NBA superstar LeBron James and even New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas took aim at Drew Brees on Wednesday after the quarterback reiterated his objection to those who kneel during the national anthem.
And they weren’t alone, as new Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, defensive end Cameron Jordan, San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman and many more bashed the quarterback over social media.
In an interview posted to Twitter, Brees told Yahoo Finance that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Brees had been asked about his responsibility moving forward as somebody who is viewed around the league as a leader.
Brees’ public comments were his first following the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, was arrested and had his charge upgraded to second-degree murder Wednesday after pressing his knee on the neck of Floyd, who is black, for more than eight minutes. Chauvin was also charged with second-degree manslaughter.
James lowered the boom on Brees for taking the stance of disrespecting flag when speaking of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during in 2016. Brees said that he disagreed with Kapernick’s decision as a way to speak out against racial injustice.
“Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t!” James wrote. “You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of (the flag) and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those.”
WOW MAN!! ???????. Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of ???? and our soldiers(men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those https://t.co/pvUWPmh4s8
— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 3, 2020
Thomas took to Twitter after Brees’ comments to voice his displeasure with a pair of tweets.
“He don’t know no better,” Thomas wrote on Wednesday afternoon.
He don’t know no better.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 3, 2020
Thomas followed 15 minutes later with “We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.”
We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.
— Michael Thomas (@Cantguardmike) June 3, 2020
Brees followed Thomas’ tweets with a statement to ESPN.com.
“I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice,” Brees said. “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.”
Sanders, who previously compared joining Brees to playing with Peyton Manning in Denver, wrote “Smh.. Ignorant” upon hearing his new quarterback’s comments.
Jordan offered a longer post on Twitter.
I’ve been told countless times, believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear. Idk bout it. I do know Actions speak louder than words. I’ve been told that a plenty… show me
— cameron jordan (@camjordan94) June 3, 2020
Sherman didn’t mince words with his assessment of Brees’ comments.
“He’s beyond lost,” Sherman wrote. “Guarantee you there were black men fighting along side your grandfather but this doesn’t seem to be about that. That uncomfortable conversation you are trying to avoid by injecting military into a conversation about brutality and equality is part of the problem.”
He’s beyond lost. Guarantee you there were black men fighting along side your grandfather but this doesn’t seem to be about that. That uncomfortable conversation you are trying to avoid by injecting military into a conversation about brutality and equality is part of the problem https://t.co/ON81UsOWPw pic.twitter.com/HH3EVTIH8p
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) June 3, 2020
Brees and Thomas have been on the same page on the field, with the latter being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2019.
Thomas, 27, caught 149 passes for 1,725 yards and nine touchdowns last season. He has 470 receptions for 5,512 yards and 32 touchdowns in 63 career games with the Saints.
Other players chimed in with their thoughts on Brees’ interview via social media.
If you're still talking about players "disrespecting the flag" by kneeling during the national anthem clearly you're not ready for these conversations. Call a time out and come back later.
— Julius Peppers (@juliuspeppers_) June 3, 2020
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) June 3, 2020
.@drewbrees the reason my children have to live in a world that won’t empathize with their pain is because people like you are raising your children to perpetuate the cycle. Drew, you are the problem.
— Douglas Baldwin Jr 🧢 (@DougBaldwinJr) June 3, 2020
–Field Level Media