Well. That didn’t take long.
On June 4, New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees issued an apology for comments he made during an interview with Yahoo Finance regarding national anthem protests on June 3. It’s interesting that Brees’ comments (and the question leading to those comments, for that matter), come at such a turbulent time in the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the George Floyd murder protests have the world on edge for different reasons. To deal with each of these polarizing events, the most appropriate term is unity. While that seems like a paradox, unity is apropos in dealing with COVID-19 and the George Floyd protests. COVID-19 requires humanity to practice social distancing, good hygiene, and to wear masks to contain the spread of the contagious, deadly virus. Using that logic, humanity should be unified in containing the virus.
The George Floyd peaceful protests contain individuals worldwide assembling and marching to protest the death of Floyd, a black man, at the hands of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white. Considering America’s recent penchant for the wanton deaths of black citizens at the hands of white police officers/private citizens without impunity, it is reasonable to classify Floyd’s death in this category.
Brees is an NFL superstar, a unanimous first ballot Hall of Famer the second he becomes eligible. His superstar status affords him a lofty platform to say whatever is on his mind. But with celebrity status comes great responsibility. During a pandemic and time of civil unrest, Brees could have used his celebrity status to unify Americans. Instead, Brees’ ill timed comments caused a different effect.
No one will ever know if Brees’ apology was genuine. He’ll get the benefit of the doubt, as his character doesn’t suggest a history of such statements. Brees’ comments do come as a disappointment to millions of fans who idolize him and for what he’s done for the city of New Orleans. Only time will tell if there will be irreparable damage to his reputation in the aftermath.