Drew Brees apologizes for 'insensitive' comments on opposing NFL anthem protests

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has apologized for "insensitive" comments after he said Wednesday he opposes NFL anthem protests.

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Brees received criticism from teammates and other sports stars Wednesday after he told Yahoo Finance he would "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." He apologized Thursday on Instagram.

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"I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused," Brees wrote in a caption, along with a photo of a black hand and white hand joined together.

He added that in his "attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem," he hurt and mislead people. He also called his comments "insensitive," saying they "lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy."

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When Brees made the initial comments, he said both of his grandfathers served in the U.S. military during World War II, and he sees the flag as a symbol of unity.

President Trump and others condemned San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem instead of standing with his hand on his chest to protest civil rights abuses in the U.S.

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Kaepernick's actions have become something of a symbol for protesters around the country calling for change after George Floyd, a black Minneapolis man, died May 25 after a white police officer kneeled on Floyd's neck as he was handcuffed.

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