By Arnie Leshin
Drew Brees has the right attitude, but it doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same way.
“Stand, kneel and respect,” says the popular 41-year-old quarterback of the New Orleans Saints. “I’ll remain standing for the ‘Star Spangled Banner, and I’ll always stand for the flag because of what it means to me and to honor all those who have sacrificed, who have served our country, and who have struggled to move this country forward.”
Brees adds that he acknowledges and respects anyone who who chooses to knee or any other form of peaceful protesting to bring attention to social injustice and systemic racism that so many have endured and continue to endure in our country.
Before this, Brees got himself in hot water back in April when he became seen by many as a symbol of white privilege for saying he would never approve of anyone disrespecting the flag by kneeling during the anthem. It didn’t go over well and Brees faced a scathing backlash from several current and black teammates and other high-profile athletes such as NBA star LeBron James. But Brees apologized soon afterwards and says he realized now that protesting by kneeling during the anthem, initiated by former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was never about the flag.
Nice to hear Brees‘ followup, and his opinion does make sense, but it’s not what goes around and comes around. There are others who kneel and offer other reasons.
Some complain about the direction President Donald Trump takes, some point to the history of this country and racism, some choose to change the national anthem, and Black Lives Matter has even pieced together an anthem that refers to them and provides voices of togetherness. and some just follow along with satisfaction by simply kneeling.
But it also gets to the silly stage. Take the world champion United States Women’s Soccer Team and its captain and leading player Megan Rapone. It was right before the world semifinals that she began displaying her hate for President Trump, who had watched most of the game and was surprised to hear this. Prior to the start of the semis,Rapone kneeled for the national anthem and looked down the line to see if any of her teammates were doing the same. Some did, but probably didn’t feel comfortable.
Then came the parade down the streets of New York City. At one point, Rapone brought her teammates to the street and led them on a wild dance that included knocking the President, the American flag, and calling for change. It wasn’t clear what change they were referring to, but it was not the way to celebrate their championship, just stopping, climbing out of the parade cars, and rallying to the street to do Rapone’s thing. It continued when Rapone later appeared on television and presented her case. And the next time her team lined up for the national anthem, only one stood.
I don’t think Brees has any respect for that.
It was nice to see the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets line up down the third and first base lines during the national anthem of their opening game of the shortened season. They all stood, every player stood, in fact, with their hands on their hearts. There were other opening weekend games where players also stood, nobody kneeled. It was to each its own and Major League Baseball went the way it wanted.
Not the same in the National Basketball League. James and others have brought the knee, protesting of racial injustice by kneeling and also letting it be known verbally, which, along with the protesting and rioting sent the message of Black Lives Matter.
Same with the National Football League, which followed the path of dissatisfied knee manKaepernick. Not everybody did and the majority of the fans in the stands began booing, with the league concerned that it was affecting the attendance of a very popular American sport. Not everyone took a knee, but it didn’t make it look any better when some of the players headed for the clubhouse before the national anthem was played. This has kept Kaepernick sidelined through these years, with no NFL club anxious to sign him.
So where did it get him? You can’t exactly pin the blame on him for the murdering of George Floyd in Minnesota, but that also led to the damage of cities in this country that began in Minnesota and continued on in Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C., Chicago, Atlanta, NYC, Los Angeles, and wherever else the protesters and rioters and looters, and even brutal murders with police as the targets. From one isolated incident where a Minnesota white cop stood on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes and caused him to lose his breath, it brought crowds that took it out on city business that were badly damaged, on innocent people in these cities, and most of all on the police.
The police? I get so upset when I watch the commercial that has phone calls made by people in their homes to 911, and the message on the other end says it will be about a week before help will arrive. A week? Think about it, a week to wait for the police. These people who have disrespected what the police stand for can only suffer if this occurs.
Brees doesn’t need to comment on this. It’s dumb, it’s not what a country like ours has lived through since George Washington, since the Revoltionary War, since the Civil
War, since World War I, World War II, the Korean War, VItenam, Desert Storm, and the other times during our unmatched history. We have relied on police, p–o–l–i–c-e.
I grew up in the New York borough of Brooklyn. I always thought highly of the police, the men in blue, never had a problem with them, never lived through protesting, rioting in the streets, went to school with what we referred to as colored kids, never had any thoughts of racism.
President Trump was born in the borough of Queens. To call him a racist is a joke. Since he was handed the keys to his father’s booming business at the age of 18 in 1967, he has employed every race, religion, every color, and has never heard any complaints relating to racism. He has never sighted anybody, paid about the same to every employee in every department, and that’s a fact. So where’s the racism? And for instance he has done more for blacks in almost one term as president as Barack Obama and Joe Biden did in two terms, eight years.
If people would come together and come away with the same attitude as Drew Brees, it would be smarter than what is currently going on, with this once proud national having to turn on TVs and see what is happening in the streets. How our cities are being overrun, and with mayors and governors deciding that they don’t need the assistance of the federal troops sent by the President. Others complain abut the border, but there’s no doubt it belongs there.
But it’s difficult to disagree with Brees. “I’ll always stand for the flag, but respect the rights of others who decide to kneel.”
But first and most important, how about God Bless America and the right to live in a land that stands above the others.