NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Drew Brees spoke with reporters this morning for nearly 45 minutes addressing everything from the upcoming season to the new COVID protocols and his support for the black lives matters movement.
Brees was emphatic in the call before talking about football. He had a message to his teammates and the community that despite his commitment to stand for the anthem. He is an ally for change.
“To think for a second that, New Orleans, or the state of Louisiana, or the black community would think that I was not standing with them, for social justice, that completely broke my heart,” Brees said.
Drew Brees did not mince words during his first interview at the start of the season. He says he made a mistake missing an opportunity in June when he made comments about kneeling during the national anthem.
“I had an opportunity to talk about the social injustices that exist for our black community and our need as a country to support them and advocate for them for systemic change, and my lack of awareness in that moment, hurt a lot of people,” Brees said.
Brees says though he will always stand when the anthem plays, he fully supports his fellow teammates who will kneel in protest
The super bowl champion quarterback knows this season will be different than any other especially as the Saints deal with a restart under COVID-restrictions.
“We all got here on Monday, right, so Tuesday was testing, go home, Wednesday was testing, go home, Thursday nothing, Friday test, go home, Saturday physical, Sunday physicals, and then finally if you make it through all of that with a clean bill of health then you can step foot in the facility on Monday,” Brees said.
After that, it’ll be weeks before players actually put on pads and until then Brees says the team is tracked to keep them six feet apart from other Saints players.
“You’ve got to social distance, you’ve got these monitors on you that will tell you if you’re within six feet of somebody, starts beeping red, and if you’re too close for too long it’s basically telling you to move away,” Brees said.
“Listen, we’ll worry about the things we can control, we’ll take it one day at a time and if we have cases or if we have an outbreak, then I know we’ll have a great plan for it,” Brees said.
At 41-years old Brees says it's crucial to keep his focus on what's important this year it's why when he decided to return earlier this year. He knew this season would be special, but little did he know how much it could mean.
“Listen I’m excited for this season, there’s a lot of unknowns, a lot of variables, and a lot of things we’re going to navigate, but that’s something we’ve always been very good at, how many times have we had to evacuate for hurricanes or make adjustments for various reasons,” Brees said. “I want to play for my team, but I also feel that this year is going to be about something much greater than football, and at this point, I think that was an understatement.”
Brees says while the COVID restrictions will put some stress on the return to football, he’s confident in his team because a lot of the guys have been together for a while and they have the benefit of operating in the same offensive and defensive system.