My lack of awareness has hurt a lot of people

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After making widely discussed comments about kneeling NFL players as the national anthem played, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees issued two apologies in June.

Brees reiterated his regret on Saturday during a conference call with members of the media.

“Going back to my comment of June 3, to think for a second that New Orleans or the state of Louisiana or the black community would think that I was not on their side for social justice, it broke my heart completely.” Brees said, via Rod Walker of The Times-Picayune. “It was overwhelming. I would never feel that way. I admit I missed an opportunity that day. I had the opportunity to speak and highlight the social injustices that exist for our black community and our need as a country to support them. and advocate for systemic change. And my lack of awareness at that time hurt a lot of people. ”

Brees has made it clear that he will defend the national anthem, but respect those who don’t and that he will advocate for black and Hispanic communities because he feels responsible to serve and lead. Brees added that he had reconciled with his upset teammates over his comments, including Malcolm Jenkins and Emmanuel Sanders.

“I will always defend the flag because of what it means to me and to honor all who sacrificed themselves, who served and died for our country and all who fought to move this country forward,” Brees said. . “I recognize and respect anyone who chooses to kneel down or any other form of peaceful protest to call attention to the social injustices and systemic racism that so many have endured and continue to experience in our country. I will always support and defend black and brown communities in the fight against social injustices. Always. ”

This offseason has been unprecedented for everyone involved in the NFL and beyond.

For Brees, however, it was one in which he also made the decision to forgo retirement. He made it clear on Saturday that it was a serious consideration to hang up the boots.

“It was definitely a decision that I took very seriously,” Brees said, via Amie Just of NOLA.com. “In the end, I chose to come back for my team. ”

Returning to a team brimming with talent on both sides of the ball, the goal ahead is high and unsurprisingly as Brees added that the deciding factor in his comeback was reaching the Super Bowl.

“That’s why I came back,” he said, via John DeShazier of the team’s website.

As great as the championship aspirations may be, Brees is well aware that the coming season, given the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic, will be more important than just competing for a Lombardi Trophy.

Brees said, “This year it will be about something much bigger than football. “

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