New Orleans Saints' defensive end Marcus Davenport came to the defense of quarterback Drew Brees Wednesday evening, following his controversial comments about peacefully protesting during the national anthem:
Wednesday, Brees was asked if recent instances of police brutality against unarmed African-Americans have caused him to change his long-held stance of not supporting peacefully protesting during the national anthem.
"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees told Daniel Roberts of Yahoo! Finance.
"Let me just tell you what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and 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 corps - both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So 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 1960s 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 a part of the solution."
Brees gave a second statement - this one to ESPN's Mike Triplett - after the clip began to draw backlash.
"I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice," Brees said. "I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."
Saints' defensive end Cameron Jordan, a five-time Pro Bowler, responded directly to Davenport's tweet:
In addition to Jordan, Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Malcolm Jenkins, all teammates of Brees in New Orleans, have denounced his comments on the matter.