Star receiver Michael Thomas, last year’s NFL offensive player of the year, took note of Brees’ comments on Twitter. You won’t often see a star teammate be critical of another in a public arena, but Thomas clearly wasn’t happy.
The controversy started when Brees was asked by Yahoo’s Daniel Roberts about players perhaps kneeling again during the national anthem in light of the civil unrest and protests over police brutality following the death of George Floyd.
Brees’ full answer:
“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corps. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about. And in many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution.”
Colin Kaepernick and others made it clear their protest was about bringing attention to police brutality and social injustice. It was not about the flag. It was not about the military, though many disingenuously used the military excuse to turn people against Kaepernick and other players who joined in his demonstration.
It was shocking to hear Brees miss the point of those protests. Thomas wasn’t going to hold back, either.
Thomas responds to Brees
There hasn’t been any reports of discord between Brees and his teammates through the years. But it seems like there might need to be a long talk between Brees and his No. 1 receiver.
More from Yahoo Sports: