Shannon Sharpe Details Drew Brees Phone Conversation After Anthem Comments

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 29: Former NFL player Shannon Sharpe speaks onstage during day one with SiriusXM at Super Bowl LIV on January 29, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM )

Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe spoke with Drew Brees after the New Orleans Saints quarterback drew criticism for his comments about players protesting during the national anthem.

During FS1’s Undisputed on Monday, Sharpe detailed the conversation he had with Brees. He told Brees that “what hurt the most is because it came from you” because “no white quarterback in the history of the NFL has had black support like you.”

UNDISPUTED @undisputed

.@ShannonSharpe describes his phone call with Drew Brees:

“I said Drew, for one second we didn’t want you to be Drew Brees, we wanted you to be one of us. What hurt the most is that it came from you. No white QB in the history of the NFL has had black support like you.” https://t.co/wDO2F7uNM6

When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his protests against systemic racism and police brutality against people of color in 2016, Brees was outspoken in saying he felt the demonstration was “disrespectful to the American flag.”

The 13-time Pro Bowler largely echoed that sentiment while speaking with Yahoo Finance’s Daniel Roberts last Wednesday, citing his two grandfathers who fought in World War II:

Yahoo Finance @YahooFinance

Highlight: @readdanwrite asks @drewbrees what the star NFL quarterback thinks about “players kneeling again when the NFL season starts.”

@drewbrees: “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”

Full exchange: https://t.co/MpCkFyOMed

Sharpe offered a direct critique and noted black veterans were discriminated against both when they were serving and upon returning home from war. Along with that, he said the American flag can symbolize something much different to other people:

UNDISPUTED @undisputed

“What makes the black man’s fight so hard is people like Drew Brees. If you can’t get a guy who grew up with blacks in the locker room from pee-wee, high school, college and the NFL to understand our plight, then who will?”

— @ShannonSharpe https://t.co/tfVYlylXny

Brees apologized for his comments on Instagram, writing in part:

“In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy.”

He also directed a message to President Donald Trump, who said in September 2017 that NFL owners should “fire” any player who protested during the anthem and stated last Friday that Brees shouldn’t have apologized:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

“We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.”

Drew Brees wrote a message responding to President Donald Trump’s tweets earlier today. (via @drewbrees) https://t.co/b6VEz3kkyI

Brees’ Yahoo interview was considered especially tone-deaf in the wake of George Floyd’s killing while in police custody.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he was seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Floyd’s death sparked protests across the U.S. to demand meaningful reforms to address police brutality and systemic racism.

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