Shaquille O’Neal to Saints: Don’t let the media divide you

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NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal officially has not commented on his remarks during last Thursday’s virtual meeting of the Saints, a day after respect-the-flag remarks from quarterback Drew Brees prompted a backlash that resulted in a trail of apologies and, eventually, a renewed anthem-protest showdown with the Commander-in-Chief. Unofficially, Shaq’s message has been revealed.

“They’re going to try to divide you, just like they divided us with the Lakers!” O’Neal reportedly said, via “Me and Kobe [Bryant], we had a great thing going, but the media divided our team. We could have won five more championships! Stay strong. Don’t let the media divide you! Don’t let social media divide you!”

Many would say that the Shaq-Kobe feud thrived due to the two men involved in it without media embellishment. Most would agree that the initial Saints schism came not from media efforts to drive a wedge but from the organic, natural reaction by multiple players to Brees’ comments. Multiple Saints players pushed back, aggressively and without prompting from anyone in the media.

But as the Saints try to get the players on the same page, the best way to do so is to create an us-against-them vibe, blaming the media even if the media is blameless. And it’s nothing personal to the media. The challenge in any situation like this is to find an external basis for a rallying cry. In this case, that’s pretty much all the Saints have.

By Friday night, the Saints no longer needed to blame any of this on the media. Once the President called out Brees and Brees responded in strong and pointed fashion, the problem largely had been solved. Sure, some not with the Saints still have an issue with Brees. But the Saints are back on the same page, thanks to the President’s effort, intentional or not, to put them there.

22 responses to “Shaquille O’Neal to Saints: Don’t let the media divide you

  1. Pretty sure the Saints will now get the calls this year as the future HOF agreed to bail Roger out of a mess that he has created over the years. He owes my Saints big time for a stolen Superbowl appearance, the fake bounty gate and overall despise for this franchise.

  2. Good for Shaq. He’s right. Great example in this article:

    “remarks from quarterback Drew Brees prompted a backlash”

    Was it the remarks or the reaction?

  3. So the member of the media writing this story disagrees that the media is divisive. Lmfao. Right

  4. The media isn’t dividing the team. A bunch of entitled brats who think that anyone who feels differently from them about how to treat the flag and anthem must be publicly flogged until they fall in line are the ones “dividing the team”.

    Brees never told his teammates how they “must” feel about the flag. He simply didn’t agree with them. Of course, his teammates couldn’t show him the same courtesy. He MUST feel the same way as they do, or risk losing the “team”. It’s clear who the “dividers” are.

  5. He’s not wrong. While the players’ reactions are valid or at least organically theirs, the media is absolutely going to blow it up to cartoon levels all for the sake of viewers/clicks.

  6. Poor media, such innocent, altruistic victims who know and want the best for everyone else

  7. C’mon Shaq! Be honest…the Lakers broke up because you and Kobe had beef. The media only reported it. As for Brees and the Saints, the media cannot be blamed because it was the spoken words and videos of Saints players, not the typical media stirring the pot. These are grown men, capable of speaking for themselves which they did. I love Shaq, but he needs to take a seat on this one.

  8. Finally a voice of reason!

    And yes it is the media, they’re the one’s asking the questions that try and divide teams, always stirring the pot and they’ve been doing it for years. There needs to be more HCs like Belichick that doesn’t let the players talk to the media and when they do there’s a hard line they can’t cross or they won’t play.

    As a VET I totally disagree with Brees BUT I realize it’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it and it should come without fear of backlash or death threats as we’re now hearing he’s gotten.

    Just like those that oppose his opinion, they have every right to disagree but they don’t have the right to go out and not protect him or not play to their fullest ability just because they don’t agree with him or try to intentionally hurt him as one player insinuated, it was his opinion and he’s entitled to it just as those players that disagree with him are entitled to theirs.

    Right now I’m at the point that I don’t care if they play a game or not and I really hope they don’t! NAH I take that back I hope they do play with no restrictions for COVID-19 at all and then they’ll see first hand how many fans they ran off by them having to make their opinions public, that never turns out good!

  9. It used to be that “we agree to disagree”…you could have differing opinions on subject matter & still get along…that’s not the case anymore…and yes the media is to blame…everyone should be allowed to have their own opinion & not get blasted by others whether that person is right or wrong….

  10. If Brees’s play slips this year it will be interesting to see how this all plays out— a lot of added pressure for the QB. The media and maybe some of his teammates likely to pounce.

  11. The funny part is that he is right. It is also try that the media is dividing the whole country! But Shaq can’t see that.

  12. If the media can divide a country, I’m sure dividing the Saints would be a walk in the park.

  13. Pretty sad that the POTUS just keeps stirring the pot, rather than coming up with ideas to end police brutality against people of color.

    Be a leader!

  14. The media isn’t the problem, the stupidity of people is a big problem however.

  15. Sorry Shaq. The team is doing a fine job of that on their own. Instead, speak out against everyone having to have the same opinion. That demand is the reason this is being still reported on.

  16. The media should be blamed for EVERYTHING these days.
    Today’s media exists solely for profit and career advancement of “reporters”.
    The “people have a right to know” has turned into “I NEED this story so I can get to a network, be an anchor, create a name for myself, etc”…all at the expense of the subject of the story.
    Shaq is 100% correct on this, the media types know it and will admit as much behind closed doors.

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