Donald Trump has spoken. A prolific tweeter with a shade under 82 million Twitter followers, it was only a matter of time until the 45th US president weighed in on the Drew Brees controversy. Brees has been in hot water for comments made earlier this week, saying he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States.” Many of Brees’ Saints teammates including Malcolm Jenkins, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas were critical of the quarterback’s remarks, citing them as tone-deaf amid widespread protests aimed at bringing awareness to social injustice and police brutality.
The New Orleans Saints star, who was seen attending the College Football National Championship with President Trump this past January, has since apologized in both video and text form, vowing to “listen” and be a better man while showing his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Many black players including then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 as a silent protest against systemic racism in the United States. Trump, who was not at all a fan of that movement, thinks the only thing Brees needs to apologize for is apologizing.
“I am a big fan of Drew Brees,” the president tweeted Friday afternoon. “I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag.” Trump went on to reiterate his stance against kneeling for the national anthem.
No stranger to controversy, Trump has spent the week putting out fires of his own, including an instance Monday when the National Guard cleared his path for a photo op at a nearby church by tear-gassing protestors gathered outside the White House.
Most of Brees’ teammates have accepted the quarterback’s apology, though some media members including ESPN’s Maria Taylor aren’t there yet. “I don’t believe you have to be trolled and dragged through Twitter and Instagram in order to change your mind and realize what you said was intolerant and could be considered insensitive later,” said Taylor during her appearance Friday on First Take. “I’m not the judge and jury. All I can do is let you reveal yourself and countless people are doing that right now."