Saints quarterback Drew Brees had plenty to say on Monday about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. And others who thought Brees was saying something negative about Kaepernick’s core concerns said plenty about what Brees had to say.
On Tuesday, Brees added a little more to his remarks to ESPN, aimed at making his message as clear as possible.
“I’ll say one thing about it because obviously you saw my comments yesterday and this is the one thing I’ll say about it so that there’s no confusion,” Brees told reporters. “It does not matter who the player is. It happened to be Colin Kaepernick, it could have been anybody. It could have been a white player, and African-American player, somebody of any race, any color and it could have been any issue. It happened to be injustices against African-Americans. It could have been any issue, it could have been health care reform, who’s running for President, it could have been anything. The thing that I disagreed with is that there’s a person who’s disrespecting the flag of the United States of America to make that point, so it’s not that I disagreed with the protest. In fact, I agree, it’s very valid, his reasoning. What I disagreed with was the method by which he chose to protest, which is to sit down and disrespect the flag of the United States of America. End of discussion.”
And that was that. And that seems to be one of the most common sentiments raised regarding the issue in the four days since the issue became one of the biggest stories in the sports world: Agreement with the message, disagreement with the method.
Still, given the manner in which the method has teed the message up for discussion and debate, there may be a method to what some would call madness on the part of an American citizen who has realized the American dream, at least professionally. As time passes, it seems that more voices are embracing the method as the quintessential exercise of the freedoms we enjoy as American citizens.
We’re not forced to stand and salute the flag. We can if we want to, and we can choose not to. We can choose to do whatever we want to do, as long as it complies with all applicable laws of the land. The moment that the law requires any of us to stand for the national anthem is the moment that our freedoms would suffer serious infringement.