After his comments about players potentially kneeling during the U.S. national anthem were met with backlash from the NFL world, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees issued an apology on Thursday.
"In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused," Brees said on an Instagram post. "In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy.
"I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability," he added. "I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening ... and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness."
Brees said in 2016 he agreed with Colin Kaepernick's message in protesting police brutality and racial injustice, but not his method. Asked in an interview Wednesday about the potential of players kneeling during the anthem when the NFL returns, the veteran passer said, "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country."
A number of current and former players quickly weighed in on the comments, including teammate Malcolm Jenkins. In a since-deleted video directed at Brees, Jenkins told his quarterback to "shut the f--- up."
The safety, among the league's most vocal against racial injustice, later clarified that the two eventually discussed their points of view.