Former NFL coach Tony Dungy spoke out about Drew Brees’s allegedly problematic flag comments on “The Pat McAfee Show,” saying that he’s not going to “downgrade” the Saints quarterback.
Brees faces backlash after sharing his thoughts on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in an interview with Yahoo Finance earlier this week.
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said.
According to Dungy, Brees isn’t necessarily at fault for the way he spoke.
“He may not totally understand it may have been not exactly the way he wanted to express it, but he can’t be afraid to say that,” continued Dungy. “We can’t just say anytime something happens we don’t agree with ‘Hey I’m done with that and this person.’ That doesn’t make sense.”
"@drewbrees can't be afraid to say that and we can't be afraid to say 'ok I don't agree with you but let's talk about this'
We can't just say anytime something happens we don't agree with 'Hey I'm done with that and this person' that doesn't make sense"
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) June 4, 2020
Instead, Dungy expressed his hope that Brees’s comments would open up a bigger conversation about the issues.
“I would speak to Drew as a friend and hopefully some of those guys on that team have done that,” he said. “There’s some hurt there that goes beyond the flag. My dad was a veteran and he wouldn’t have taken these protests as disrespect for the flag he would have taken it as people trying to make a change in our great country for the better.
In an apology posted to his Instagram page, Brees reached out to his “friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone [Brees] hurt with [his] comments.”
“I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country,” he said. “They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy.”
Brees went on to acknowledge and clarify his stance on the recent events surrounding George Floyd’s death and then asked for forgiveness.
I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community,” Brees wrote. “I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.”