BOSTON (CBS) — Drew Brees’ commentary on players kneeling during the national anthem drew an avalanche of criticism, to the point where Brees has now issued two separate apologies.
Among the first people to speak out against Brees’ comments were the McCourty twins. Their Twitter account labeled Brees’ comments as “a disgrace” while urging Brees to not “avoid the issue and try to make it about a flag or the military.”
On Thursday, WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton spoke to Devin McCourty, who explained how that type of commentary from Brees can lead to more people remaining silent on the matter instead of standing up for people who would benefit from gaining more support.
“Someone said, ‘Do you forgive him?’ And for me, it’s not about me forgiving him, because I didn’t hate him,” McCourty said. “I think for me it’s, I would say, ‘Drew, it’s what you represent.’ When you do that, you now allow people who already thought like that, you allow people who were kind of on the fence — like, this is huge, I’m watching this and this is wrong, is this about the flag, is this not about the flag — you allow them to just jump on that side. Because they’ll walk away and they’ll say, ‘You know, Drew Brees is a Christian man, he’s a good guy, he gives money to the community.’ And they’ll be like, ‘I’m safe. If I’m with Drew, I can be silent on these issues. I can avoid ’em. I can just turn the TV off.'”
McCourty said that he doesn’t believe Brees is a bad person, nor does he believe Brees must immediately change his own feelings. McCourty merely saw Brees’ statement as a missed opportunity for the quarterback to continue to support people he has supported in the past.
“To me, that was the issue. I don’t hate a guy for saying how he feels. Whether he changed it or apologized — I don’t really care about that,” McCourty said. “But I think he’s the type of guy who has a huge following. From all I know he’s a good guy. You have a great opportunity to be an ally for teammates, for the black community, for people he’s probably helped in years past with different things he’s done. You now have an opportunity to represent them and speak out and speak for them. So that’s what I was speaking toward.”
The genesis of Brees even being asked about kneeling during the anthem came from the movements taking place around the country regarding racial injustice and police brutality. Those were the core issues at the heart of Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest years ago, so it stands to reason that similar stances might be taken this coming fall.
As for what football locker rooms will be like during this unique time, Devin’s twin brother Jason told CNN that he anticipates entering a locker room where teammates can and will respect each other, even when they don’t agree.
“I think it’s going to be an opportunity to uncomfortably have these discussions and to be able to really feel what each and every person in the locker room has gone through,” Jason McCourty told CNN. “Not only myself, but there are so many guys within the locker room from so many different backgrounds, races, demographics, that allows us a special moment, to be a melting pot. And really in that situation, really be able to care for one another and be able to understand and talk to each other about what our journey has been like. I think that’s the unique setting that we have within the locker room that, hey, we all have a common goal. We all want to do something special on the field. But at the same time, we have a responsibility to get to know each other and build on things we can do in the community. So I’m excited to see what the locker room will be like when you have 90 guys that are willing to care for one another and be able to make change together.”
“It’s going to be an opportunity to uncomfortably have these discussions, and to be able to really feel what each and every person in the locker room has gone through,” Jason McCourty of the @Patriots on returning to the game amid the social unrest.https://t.co/rSDjxkUCAB pic.twitter.com/2cl7rb0rFl
— New Day (@NewDay) June 4, 2020
He continued: “I think we’ll have 90 guys that are willing to respect each other. I think there are different levels of caring. I think for guys, you’re going to have some people that are willing to be on the front line. You think of guys like Malcolm Jenkins, DeMario Davis, guys that are willing to speak up and say, ‘Hey, there’s a problem and I want to help change and I want to be a vessel to keep this thing moving and see change.’ And you’re going to have some guys that may just look up and go to a guy in a locker room and say, ‘Hey man, I appreciate what you’re doing. I understand what you’re going through.’ And they may not be willing to step out and say things or be in front of a camera and do things of that nature, but they respect the fact that somebody is doing it and they understand the point of view that they’re doing it from. And I think that’s what’s important. That’s what shows respect to your teammates and shows respect to just being on a team and understanding that, hey, we’re all different individuals, special in our own rights, and we can just respect that and move forward.”