Former Minnesota Vikings receiver Nate Burleson shared his thoughts on the quarterback’s recent comments.
Following the tragic death of George Floyd, the Minnesota Vikings and their players have been very active in taking measures to help create change in the United States when it comes to racism and police brutality.
Vikings linebackers Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr both recently appeared in a video featuring multiple NFL players calling on the league to take more action. Tight end Kyle Rudolph and defensive end Danielle Hunter have also been pitching in by helping gather donations for people in need around Minneapolis.
But current members of the Vikings roster are not the only ones speaking up and sharing their feelings to help promote change in the country. Former Minnesota players like Nate Burleson have also been lending their thoughts to bring more awareness to everything that has been going on in the United States recently.
Former Minnesota Vikings receiver Nate Burleson responds to Drew Brees.
During a recent interview, current New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was asked about how he would respond if players around the NFL began to kneel during the national anthem again like they have in the recent past.
"“Well, I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. 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 envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place.Every time I stand with my hand over my heart, looking at that flag, and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about, and in many cases, it brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the 60s, and everyone, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it’s not. We still have a long way to go, but I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution.”"
Brees’ interpretation of players kneeling during the national anthem with the intent to disrespect the American flag was not appreciated by many current and former NFL players. Players who have participated in kneeling during the anthem have explained numerous times why they are doing it and it has never been about disrespecting the flag like Brees’ said.
Burleson, a current analyst for NFL Network, is one of those who recently reacted to Brees’ comments and he attempted to help help the Saints quarterback acquire a better understanding of why players around the league choose to kneel during the national anthem.
"“For as accurate (Brees) is on the field, I was surprised how far off he was on this topic. Drew Brees isn’t my enemy. Drew you’re not my enemy. But the narrative that taking a knee is disrespectful to the military or the country, that ideology is what slows down or puts a barricade in front of us as we fight for equality.”"
Burleson went on to share a personal story about his grandfather who he was never able to meet because he was a victim of police brutality in 1971. The former Vikings receiver concluded his response by saying the following.
"“So Drew, when you say, ‘it’s a sign of disrespect because somebody took a knee during the national anthem,’ I feel like you should be in disbelief that this is still going on. I’ll say it again, Drew you’re not my enemy. You’re just like a lot of people who are seeing life through your view. All I’m asking is just zoom out and see life from a different perspective. If you open your eyes that wide, you will really see what disrespect is, and it’s happening in the black community day-after-day."
Since making his original comments, Brees has come out and apologized to his teammates and anyone else who he hurt with his remarks. He’s also met with members of the New Orleans roster to listen to their thoughts about his original comments.
Hopefully, this incident can actually be turned into something useful and Brees can be someone who helps in the effort to create change in the United States when it comes to racism and police brutality. Everyone is guilty of making mistakes and a lot of the responses to what the New Orleans quarterback said are meant to try and make sure he is more informed when it comes to speaking on this subject matter in the future.
Brees will surely learn from this experience and now he has the opportunity to be someone who can help spread the true meaning of why players around the NFL choose to kneel during the national anthem.