Wendell Piece, a New Orleans native and accomplished actor both on screen and on stage, joined the cacophony of voices pushing back hard against Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Wednesday night.
Following Brees’ comments asserting he will never agree with anybody “disrespecting the flag” due to his grandfathers’ military service, Pierce directed a message to Brees via his Twitter account to relay his father’s differing experience of serving and returning home.
“To Drew Brees, my 95yr old father fought in WWII at Saipan risking his life for the United States of America, a country that had little respect for him,” Pierce wrote. “When he returned to New Orleans he was denied his right to vote, his right to live where he wanted & most of his civil rights. My father risked his life for the US Constitution that was written without even considering him a human being, until many Americans lost their lives to change it. To protect the 1st Amendment right to protest. Even then my father returned to New Orleans greeted by segregation.
“My father, who fought for your freedom Drew Brees had to navigate racial violence in New Orleans as civil rights protesters were beaten by many who stand for our flag as they sat at the Woolworth lunch counter… blocks from the Superdome. My father fought for the flag you respect, when that flag flew over New Orleans City Hall when a Christian preacher by the name of Rev. Avery Alexander was dragged down the steps of City Hall because n—— were not allowed in its segregated cafeteria. … A Christian like you. My father is a patriot that stood up and risked his life for the American flag so Americans can kneel down in protest when its raised. Are you saying he disrespects it? He loves this country that seldom loved him in his 95 years. That’s living the life of Christian forgiveness.
“My father returned home after fighting in WWII & started a family. As his youngest son, he taught me to love the country that America could be…. but had not become yet. He taught me to fight for that America of liberty and justice for all. Never lose the ability to be offended. My father fought in the Double V campaign, victory abroad & victory at home. We won victory over fascism abroad but we’re still fighting racism at home. Drew Brees my father cheers for you every Sunday, I hope you cheer for him as he takes a knee for the flag he nearly died for.”
NFL players that have been vocal in their desire to combat social justice and police brutality have repeatedly stressed their demonstrations have nothing to do with the military. It was ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer that suggested Colin Kaepernick take a knee for his protest instead of sitting during the national anthem. Kneeling has been used in several protests this week as an olive branch between police and protestors asking for their voices to be heard.