Human nature is a powerful force, albeit unstoppable.
Just look at the way people have collectively battled the coronavirus pandemic for the past three months … and the way people have reacted so passionately to the disgusting injustice that ended George Floyd’s life on the Day of the Fallen in Minneapolis.
That’s why, despite all the unquestionable good he’s done off the field and his remarkable records on it, there is reason to believe that Drew Brees will never return from Wednesday’s events.
Comments by the Saints’ star quarterback in an otherwise innocuous interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, in the minds of many (most importantly, their own teammates), have forever changed the way in which it will be perceived.
“I will never agree with anyone who does not respect the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees told the website. “What you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart is that it shows unity.”
Brees was answering a question related to the 2016 protests by Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who knelt during the national anthem protesting a criminal justice system that he believed did not show justice for black men.
It was a response that, until he issued a heartfelt apology on Instagram on Thursday morning, it seemed like it could have changed Brees’ life forever and damaged his leadership in a locker room that, immediately after his comments, it looked like it was on rebellion
“Drew Brees, if you don’t understand how hurtful, how callous your comments are, you’re part of the problem,” Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins said through tears in a powerful four-minute, 20-second video he posted on Instagram. Wednesday. “Although we are teammates, I can’t let this happen.”
The consequences inside the Saints’ locker room didn’t end with Jenkins.
Saints top receiver and reigning offensive player of the year Michael Thomas mocked his quarterback with a series of Twitter posts, including: “He doesn’t know any better.”
Emmanuel Sanders, another of Brees’ receivers, tweeted: “Smh … ignorant.”
Those feelings left you wondering how Brees could bounce back from this when he lost some of the most important people within his own locker room, when the success of every NFL team relies so much on the brotherhood of men who occupy that room and fight for the other?
Human nature being what it is, will the Saints’ offensive line protect it with the same fight they used to do?
Will Thomas and Sanders and the rest of the receiving body be willing to risk their well-being in the middle to make catches difficult?
Facing these critical issues, Brees, in his apology the day after, acknowledged that he “completely missed the mark” with his comments and asked for “excuse me.”
Saints linebacker Demario Davis, one of the team leaders in New Orleans, quickly responded to his quarterback’s apology on CNN and praised him for “taking ownership” of his mistake, saying it showed “a way to true leadership. “
Thomas also turned to Twitter to accept Brees’ apology.
Brees hopes this is the beginning of a necessary healing. But the questions, and possible skepticism, will follow Brees despite the apology. Cynics might wonder if the apology was simply more of a reaction to the strong pullback it was receiving.
So, with Brees’ apology and a leader like Davis coming out in public acceptance of this, Brees’ status within the Saints’ locker room remains to be determined. His words were profound for many of his teammates, some of whom may be less likely to accept his apology as Davis did.
Do you know how Brees validates his apology? Kneel down with your teammates during the national anthem on game day.
There is so much shame in this, starting with the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of a racist bone in Brees’ body.
It’s a shame Brees, based on his original comments, can’t seem to see the opinions of his teammates and the difficulties they’ve endured as black men that are impossible to understand as a white man.
It’s a shame Brees’ reputation is stained forever after all the overwhelming good he’s done as a fabric of the New Orleans community: donating more money in times of need, like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, than most of Americans win. their lives
“(Bleep) Drew Brees,” some people in New Orleans sang during the protests on Wednesday.
Considering what Brees has meant and done for New Orleans, those songs were just as nasty as this whole thing.
But the sad reality for Brees is this: It is possible that nothing, not the 163 wins, six division titles and a Super Bowl victory that has led the Saints in their brilliant career, or the 547 touchdowns he has thrown Or the 77,416 yards he has thrown. – it will be enough to help you get through this.
Due to the vitriolic consequences of his comments, especially from the sanctuary of his own wardrobe, human nature may be the hardest defense he has ever faced.