Saints' Demario Davis Says Drew Brees' Apology Is 'Leadership at Its Finest'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 4, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints take the field during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 05, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis responded to an apology issued by Drew Brees following the quarterback's controversial comments about players protesting during the national anthem. 

Appearing on CNN, Davis called Brees' apology "leadership at its finest."

Alli Hedges Maser @AllisonLHedges

JUST NOW: "For him to admit that he was wrong.. I think that is leadership at its finest." New Orleans @Saints linebacker @demario__davis reacts to hearing @dreabrees' apology in real time. https://t.co/ynY2Ssy6je

"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 on Wednesday. 

The comments caused widespread backlash, including from teammates Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. 

Michael Thomas @Cantguardmike

He don’t know no better.

Michael Thomas @Cantguardmike

We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.

Emmanuel Sanders @ESanders_10

Smh.. Ignorant

Brees issued a statement on Instagram Thursday morning:

"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. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character."

"I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference.
I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community.
I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement.
I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right.

"I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening...and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen.
For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness."

Davis has become an outspoken advocate for social justice throughout his NFL career. Per Amie Just of NOLA.com, he has helped bail out an immigration activist who was being detained by ICE, donated money and water to Flint, Michigan, and delivered toys and food to families at the U.S.-Mexico border in the past year. 

Gayle Benson, owner of the Saints and Pelicans, announced the formation of the Social Justice Leadership Coalition this week amid the ongoing protests after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25.

Davis, along with Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick, are leading the coalition that is committed to building toward social change.