Report: Spike Lee Praised Saints' Drew Brees for Response to Donald Trump

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 9, 2020

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - JANUARY 05: Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints in action 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

Film director, producer and screenwriter Spike Lee complimented New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for his recent comments to President Donald Trump during a Zoom call with Saints players on Tuesday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter provided the report.  

"The guest speaker on today’s Saints' team Zoom call was Spike Lee, per source," Schefter wrote. "Lee complimented Drew Brees for how he stood up to President Trump and then spoke 45 minutes about his experiences in race relations. The players loved Lee, said one person on the call."

Brees' comments were in response to the President's criticism of the quarterback's numerous apologies for remarks made about kneeling in protest against racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem.

Brees spoke with Daniel Roberts of Yahoo Finance on Wednesday:

"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... thinking about all that has been sacrificed, not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movement of the 60s. And all that has been endured by so many people. 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 we are all part of the solution."

After much backlash from teammates and others, Brees offered multiple apologies. That soon elicited the following response from Trump:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

...We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!

Brees then wrote a note on Instagram that began as follows: 

"Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.

"We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform."

Brees' response to Trump was well-received by his teammates and others, including All-Pro Saints wideout Michael Thomas:

Michael Thomas @Cantguardmike

MY QB 💪🏾 https://t.co/TOSprTpFHr

As for Lee, four of his films have been inducted into the National Film Registry, per Donald Liebenson of Vanity Fair: She’s Gotta Have It, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and 4 Little Girls.

Lee also directed and produced When the Levees Broke and the follow-up If God Is Willing and da Creek Don't Rise, which largely covered the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and its impact on New Orleans.

The second film heavily featured Brees and the 2009 Saints' run to a Super Bowl victory and its importance to New Orleans.