After making pointed statements toward New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees last week, former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe has since spoken with Brees and detailed elements of their conversation during his show Undisputed on FS1.
Sharpe said that Brees reached out to him to apologize for his comments that centered on not supporting players that would protest during the national anthem. Brees has publicly apologized since and indicated he now understands why his comments were taken so harshly as they deflected conversation away from the message of the protests.
“What hurt the most is because it came from you,” Sharpe said of his message to Brees, via Larry Holder of TheAthletic.com. “I said, ‘Drew, no white quarterback in the history of the NFL has had black support like you got it. … But given you, in New Orleans, what you’ve done in the community with Katrina, donating $5 million out of your pocket during this pandemic to feed the hungry,’ I said, ‘Drew, why do you think that your teammates lashed out at you like that? Because they couldn’t believe that came from you.’
“And after talking to him … I could feel the pain. I’m not a guy that’s easily forgiven. You’ve got to show me.”
Sharpe would say that he told Brees not to apologize any more. Some people will find the apology genuine while others will find it as just a necessary gesture to the backlash he faced. He said what Brees does from here with his actions will speak more effectively than any further apology would.
Ultimately, Sharpe believes Brees will do his part to make up for the misstep.
“I believe he deserves an opportunity for redemption because he’s been too good in that community to let this one slip-up undo 15 years of great service,” Sharpe said. “That’s what I told him. I said, ‘Drew, I’ll be here.’ I said, ‘My criticism was harsh — there’s no question about that. I understand that’s probably why you’re reaching out. But I wanted you to understand the hurt that not only the community felt, but what I felt.
“‘I think the blowback that you got was deserved, but I also believe you have a great heart. And I believe you will make right about the wrong that you spoke.’”