New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins criticized teammate Drew Brees, who said he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country" in reference to the protests started by Colin Kaepernick.
In the wake of George Floyd's killing and nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, Yahoo's Daniel Roberts asked Brees what he thought about players protesting during the national anthem:
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
Jenkins addressed the comments in an Instagram video.
Malcolm Jenkins @MalcolmJenkins
I recorded a few videos when thinking of how to respond to Drew Brees, I don’t take any of it back-I meant what I said-I removed the 1st video because I knew it be more about the headlines. I want people to understand how those of us struggling with what’s going on feel https://t.co/T054qt0YEz
In a since-deleted portion of the original video, he told Brees, "You're somebody who I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes, you should shut the f--k up" (warning: video contains profanity):
Jenkins included this caption:
"As I was trying to muster up the energy and find the words to address Drew Brees's comments I recorded this video. Before I could post it, Drew reached out to me to discuss his point of view.
"All in all, I'm still posting this video because it's important for anyone who wants to consider themself an ally to know how these words and actions affect those who you want to help. Drew's words during his interview were extremely painful to hear and I hope he rectifies them with real action."
Jenkins wasn't the only one disappointed in Brees:
Richard Sherman @RSherman_25
He’s beyond lost. Guarantee you there were black men fighting along side your grandfather but this doesn’t seem to be about that. That uncomfortable conversation you are trying to avoid by injecting military into a conversation about brutality and equality is part of the problem https://t.co/ON81UsOWPw https://t.co/HH3EVTIH8p
Kaepernick declined to stand for the national anthem during the 2016 NFL season. He told NFL Network's Steve Wyche at the time he was "not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback received heavy criticism at the time, with Brees' recent comments reflecting one of the more common refrains. The 13-time Pro Bowler had called the flag "sacred" in 2016 and said "there's plenty of other ways that you can do that in a peaceful manner that doesn't involve being disrespectful to the American flag."
Recent events have brought Kaepernick's social activism to the fore again.
While investigating an alleged forgery in progress on May 25, Minneapolis police officers removed Floyd from his car and placed him on the ground. Part of the encounter was recorded, with officer Derek Chauvin shown kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd later died at a local hospital.
The four officers were fired, and prosecutors initially charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday he was now charging Chauvin with second-degree murder, and the other three officers are each facing a charge of aiding and abetting.