New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany Brees, announced Thursday they will be the presenting sponsors of the Black College Football Hall of Fame's "The Road to Equality" event July 15.
The Black College Football Hall of Fame, which honors players, coaches and administrators from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), provided further details about the virtual event:
Excited to announce BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL...THE ROAD TO EQUALITY, a July 15 virtual event that will engage in the national discussion on social justice by sharing the history of black college football and its impact on civil rights. Please RSVP at https://t.co/KFErfuZ63p TODAY! https://t.co/XLevcoHjcz
The Brees family will provide "financial and promotional support" for the event, per ESPN's Mike Triplett.
Other sponsors include six NFL teams (Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers), the Robert Kraft Patriots Foundation, Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury and Auburn head coach Guz Malzahn and his wife, Kristi Malzahn.
The discussion will be hosted by Steve Wyche and Charles Davis with an appearance from author Samuel Freedman.
"Our goal for this meaningful event is to engage in the national discussion on social justice by sharing the history of black college football and its impact on civil rights," the official website reads. "It is also intended to be a platform to raise funds and awareness for HBCU football programs and the Black College Football Hall of Fame."
Brees received sharp criticism for June 3 comments about players potentially taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality:
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
His remarks about the movement, which was started in 2016 by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, came amid worldwide protests after George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was killed while in Minneapolis Police custody last month.
Brees released an apology saying he'd be an ally to the Black Lives Matter movement going forward.
"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," he wrote on Instagram. "I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our Black communities and still exists today."
Brees has spent the past 14 years with the Saints after starting his career with the San Diego Chargers. He signed a two-year, $50 million contract in March.