NFL player Drew Brees targets Donald Trump in protest backflip

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has apologised for saying players who kneeled during the national anthem were disrespecting the flag. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees pushed back against President Donald Trump on Friday night, just days after he and Trump were seemingly on the same side about protests during the national anthem at NFL games.

Brees told Yahoo Finance earlier this week that he would ‘never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag’ when asked about the possibility of players protesting again during the national anthem this season.

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He later apologised multiple times following immense criticism and backlash from all corners of the sports world, including from his own teammates. 

Trump, however, responded to Brees’ comments on Friday afternoon.

Trump, a ‘big fan’ of Brees, said he ‘should not have taken back his original stance on honouring our magnificent American flag.’

Brees penned an Instagram post directly to Trump on Friday night, calling him out for turning the protests about racial and social justice into an issue about disrespecting the flag.

“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realise this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees wrote.

“We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. 

“We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week.

We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform.”

Drew Brees apologises for ‘disrespecting the flag’ comments

Several high profile U.S. sporting stars, most notably by NBA icon LeBron James among others, slammed Brees earlier in the week for his initial comments.

The New Orleans Saints star said he was wrong to link the flag to the issues raised by protesters, and said he now realised it was time for America to change.

“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?” he said.

“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities.

“We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action.

“The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”