When New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees told Yahoo Finance in June that he couldn’t agree with anyone “disrespecting the flag” if they took a knee during the national anthem, Brees’ teammates criticized him publicly.
The most forceful comments came from Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. He posted a video, which he deleted, in which he said Brees should “shut the f--- up.” Jenkins posted another video after that which repeated the same themes about Brees’ privilege and said he was disappointed and hurt by the comments.
It seemed then that the issue could be divisive in the Saints’ locker room. Brees is the captain of the Saints and his views hurt many of his teammates. But Jenkins said that he and Brees have talked about it and feels the team might be closer after some tough conversations.
Malcolm Jenkins says he has talked to Drew Brees
Brees, who apologized multiple times after the comments to Yahoo Finance, has apparently talked at length to Jenkins and to his teammates as well.
Jenkins, who started his career with the Saints before signing with the Philadelphia Eagles, said he and Brees have been friends a long time and the dialogue between the two “was important for the country to do and important for us to do.”
“And I think that even moving past that moment, it's going to be ongoing, but as far as a friendship and the willingness for both of us to engage in that dialogue has been has been cooperative and been encouraging,” Jenkins said.
That sounds promising. Brees clearly missed the mark with his comments and his teammates had good reason to be upset. Perhaps Brees, through talks with Jenkins and others, learned more about their fight for equality and why kneeling for the anthem is important.
Jenkins says Saints might be closer
The football part of the story isn’t the most important one. But the Saints are a Super Bowl contender, and having the quarterback at odds with many teammates isn’t ideal for winning games.
Jenkins indicated that isn’t a problem anymore.
“I think if anything, the team was probably closer for it because we've had to have tough conversations and oftentimes, those adversities or those intimate kind of engagements, bring people closer, and I think this is no exception,” Jenkins said.
Brees was in the middle of a huge controversy and it changed perceptions of him. As Jenkins said, the conversations are going to be ongoing. Maybe something positive can come out of it all.
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