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A Response to My Teammate Drew Brees

One look at the headlines reveals that tension is as high as patience is low. Many have asked about my quarterbacks comments a few days ago regarding players kneeling during the national anthem.

To start, many of those who kneel have made it abundantly clear that they don’t hate our military or wish to dishonor those who defend our freedom. Obviously, two things can be true simultaneously: a player can believe our nation needs significant change in areas of racial justice, while also being grateful for those who protect our nation’s freedoms, including the freedom to protest. Those players are my teammates. To attribute to them malice, disrespect, or hatred toward our country is disingenuous. And that’s often done to distract from the real issue at handnamely, the racial injustice the black community has suffered through in America.

Apologies and Slander

That said, theres been a lot of chatter and opinions about Drews character. I understand that public figures and role models are held to a higher standard because of the influence we carry. Professional athletes have the opportunity to use their platform to address controversial problems. Drew understands this, too. So after he saw how much hurt his comments had caused, he rightly walked back what he said and has since publicly addressed President Trump, explaining to him the error of portraying players kneeling as an issue about the flag. That may not be enough to atone for a misunderstanding like thisbut its where everyone starts, figuring out how to best move the ball of racial justice down the field. Drew says hes committed to listening and learning going forward, which is exactly what we wantfor everybody!

As a biracial man whos shared a locker room with him for three years now, I’ve seen his love and care for both his teammates and also New Orleans. And Im not just talking about whats done in public (helping rebuild after Katrina, donating to COVID-19 relief, and so on). Ive seenand experiencedhis generosity with his time, and his attentiveness towards rookies. Ive heard him pray over our teammates. So, while I think its right to correct his comment and encourage him toward a better response, Im saddened by the slander of his character.

While I think its right to correct his comment and encourage him toward a better response, Im saddened by the slander of his character.

We should think carefully about the measure we use to judge others, since it will be the same measure by which we, too, will be judged. This principle isn’t optional for those who call themselves Christians (Matt. 7:15). Its possible to both denounce someones wrong understandingandcare enough about them to desire and seek their education and restoration. Wouldnt you want the same treatment?

God Means It for Good

In times like these, those comments seem like kerosene on a long-burning fire. But I believe God is using this moment to bring about the positive change we seek for the black community, and so much more.

May it be so in our homes and communities. May it be so in the public square. May it be so in the New Orleans Saints locker room. What the Enemy means for evil, God uses for more good than we can comprehend (Gen. 50:20).

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