In the aftermath of Saints quarterback Drew Brees reiterating his position that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, who re-signed with the team earlier this year after spending six seasons with the Eagles, posted a pair of videos responding to Brees on social media.
The first (more on that below) was deleted. The text of second video, which Jenkins recorded before speaking directly to Brees, appears below.
“The onslaught of sh-t that we have to deal with is f–king crazy right now,” Jenkins said. “Drew Brees, if you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem. To think that because your grandfathers served in this country and you have a great respect for the flag that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts that you do is ridiculous. And it shows that you don’t know history. Because when our grandfathers fought for this country and served and they came back, they didn’t come back to a hero’s welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms. They came back to people, to racism, to complete violence.
“And then here we are in 2020, with the whole country on fire. Everybody witnessing a black man dying — being murdered — at the hands of the police, just in cold blood for everybody to see. The whole country’s on fire. And the first thing that you do is criticize one’s peaceful protest that was years ago when we were trying to signal a sign for help and signal for our allies and our white brothers and sisters, the people we consider to be friends, to get involved? It was ignored. And here we are now with the world on fire and you still continue to first criticize how we peacefully protest because it doesn’t fit in what you do and your beliefs without ever acknowledging that the fact that a man was murdered at the hands of police in front of us all and that it’s been continuing for centuries, that the same brothers that you break the huddle down with before every single game, the same guys that you bleed with and go into battle with every single day go home to communities that have been decimated.
“Drew, unfortunately, you’re somebody who doesn’t understand their privilege. You don’t understand the potential that you have to actually be an advocate for the people that you call brothers. You don’t understand the history and why people like me, people with my skin color whose grandfathers fought for this country, who served, and I still protested against that — not against the national anthem but against what was happening in America and what our fabric of this country is for, or stands for. If you don’t understand that other people experienced something totally different than you, then when you talk about being a brotherhood and all this other bullsh-t, it’s just lip service or it’s only on the field. Because when we step off this field and I take my helmet off, I’m a black man walking around America and I’m telling you I’m dealing with these things, I’m telling you my communities are dealing with these things, and your response to me is, ‘Don’t talk about that here. This is not the place.’
“Drew, where is the place, Drew? I’m disappointed. I’m hurt. Because while the world tells you that you’re not worthy, that your life doesn’t matter, the last place you want to hear from are the guys that you go to war with and that you consider to be allies and to be your friends. Even though we’re teammates, I can’t let this slide.”
Jenkins used even stronger language in the deleted video, a portion of which has been posted by NFL reporter Dov Kleiman.
“Our communities are under siege, and we need help,” Jenkins said in a portion of the deleted video. “And what you’re telling us is, ‘Don’t ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can’t listen when you ask that way.’ We’re done asking, Drew, and people who share your sentiments, who express those, and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem. And it’s unfortunate because I considered you a friend, I looked up to you, you’re somebody who I had a great deal of respect for, but sometimes you should shut the f–k up.”
The Saints, like most teams, likely won’t convene as a team until training camp. Until they do, the players and coaches will have to find a way to mend these fences — if that’s even possible. And the onus will squarely fall on Brees to find a way to make things right, if he hopes to reset the mood and the tone around the team as he begins what is expected to be his final NFL season.
As Jenkins typed in the Instagram post accompanying the video, “Drew’s words during his interview were extremely painful to hear and I hope he rectifies them with real action.”