Malcolm Jenkins credited New Orleans Saints team-mate Drew Brees "for listening" after the NFL quarterback sent a message to United States president Donald Trump saying he stood by his apology.

Brees, the NFL's all-time leader for passing yardage and touchdown passes, caused outrage earlier this week when he said those who protest against racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem are "disrespecting the flag".

A tearful Jenkins, who returned to the Saints this offseason, described Brees' comments as "hurtful" and "insensitive", with the quarterback later issuing two apologies and an admission he had "completely missed the mark".

While his apologies were welcomed by Saints colleagues, Trump - a vocal critic of those, like Colin Kaepernick, who have knelt during the national anthem - suggested Brees was wrong to row back on his initial views.

However, Brees later posted an Instagram note addressed to Trump in which he reiterated "this is not an issue about the American flag", words which were welcomed by Jenkins.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

"Drew, as much as your comments hurt me and many other people, I appreciate you for listening because being heard is a big part of it," the safety said on his Instagram story.

Other prominent voices in the Saints' locker room were also pleased to see Brees express regret over his original comments.

Veteran defensive end Cameron Jordan wrote on Twitter: "My teammate dropped a bar... paraphrasing @demario__davis, "apology is a form of true leadership... that's taking ownership." Only through open dialogue & open hearts can we expand our comprehension and only in courage can we create positive change! @drewbrees".

Wide receiver Michael Thomas, Brees' go-to receiver over the past four seasons, retweeted his team-mate's note and wrote: "MY QB".

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees responded to United States president Donald Trump and called for change in the country.

Trump criticised the 41-year-old for apologising for his comments about kneeling during the national anthem, saying his stance should not have changed.

Brees said earlier this week he disagreed with protests in which sports stars have knelt during the anthem.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality while he was playing in the NFL.

After Trump's tweets on Friday, Brees responded on social media, saying it was time for change in the USA.

"To @realdonaldtrump. Through my ongoing conversations with friends, team-mates, and leaders in the black community, I realise this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been," he wrote on Instagram.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities. We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when? We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

"We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.

"We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation's history! If not now, then when?

"We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us."

United States president Donald Trump criticised New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for apologising for his comments about kneeling during the national anthem.

Brees, 41, apologised after saying he disagreed with protests in which sports stars have knelt during the anthem.

His comments came in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, prompting demonstrations across the United States and beyond.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice and police brutality while he was playing in the NFL.

But Trump believes Brees should not have apologised for his stance.

"I am a big fan of Drew Brees," he wrote on Twitter. "I think he's truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high.

"We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart.

"There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag - NO KNEELING!"

Roger Goodell admitted the NFL was "wrong" not to listen to its players earlier about racism concerns.

A day after a group of players, led by Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes, sent a powerful message to the NFL, Goodell responded.

It comes amid protests across the United States in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in Minneapolis last week.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the United States national anthem in 2016 in protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

In a video posted on social media on Friday, Goodell acknowledged the NFL should have listened to its players earlier.

"It has been a difficult time for our country, in particular black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality," he said.

"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.

"I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no National Football League and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff.

"We are listening, I am listening and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family."

Two days after owner Shad Khan announced his team would take action to address racial inequality in the United States, the Jacksonville Jaguars held a march in the city on Friday to raise awareness of injustices against the African-American community. 

Several players and staff, including head coach Doug Marrone, as well as family members walked from the team's home of TIAA Bank Field to the Jacksonville Sherriff's Office in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in the custody of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. 

"Today we say no more," wide receiver Chris Conley said while addressing the crowd. "Today we see a nation that can't await change, a city that won't sit still or be quiet." 

A number of players were unable to attend due to travel restrictions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic but lent their support via video messages that were posted on the Jaguars' Twitter account. 

"I believe we have people on this team, and in this organisation, that are committed to making real change," quarterback Gardner Minshew said in his message. "We realise this won't happen from one march, from one day, but a consistent effort to bring justice and equality into our city, into our community." 

Khan, a Pakistani immigrant who became the NFL's first minority owner when he purchased the Jaguars in 2011, wrote an impassioned statement posted on the team's web site on Wednesday that decried the recent racially motivated events that have triggered civil unrest in several American cities. 

"As a member of the NFL family, I recognise I have a unique opportunity to address inequity wherever it is present, expand opportunity for all who seek it, and seek justice for all who deserve it. I take that responsibility seriously," Khan said. 

"Racial discrimination has no place in our society. That's been said. But what's been done? We must have the answer today, and we will work with players, staff and more to arrive at a timely response.  

"We cannot attack the virus of racism with indifference or periodic attention. We cannot expect an easy cure or give up when the quest because inconvenient or uncomfortable." 

 

Devonta Freeman urged the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to start negotiations with him after Bruce Arians indicated the NFC South team do not have the cap space to sign the running back.

Freeman has been a free agent since being released by the Atlanta Falcons after the 2019 season - his sixth in the NFL - when he rushed for a disappointing 656 yards on 184 attempts and averaged only 3.6 yards per carry.

A 1,000-yard rusher in 2015 and 2016, Freeman became the highest-paid running back in the NFL when he signed a five-year, $41.25million extension in 2017.

However, having failed to reproduce the type of numbers he put up before signing that deal, there has been little concrete interest in the 28-year-old running back so far this offseason.

The Bucs had the 24th-ranked rushing attack in 2019 and are in the market for a veteran in the backfield to complement new quarterback Tom Brady, who frequently utilised versatile backs like Freeman with the New England Patriots.

And while confirming his interest in Freeman, head coach Arians suggested the back's salary demands are too rich for Tampa Bay.

"If his price tag was reasonable," Arians told reporters when asked if Freeman was on his radar.

"He's not probably signed because he's turning down a lot of money. We don't have a lot of money."

The Bucs are up against the cap and have little wiggle room heading into the 2020 season.

However, Freeman has noted Arians' comments and posted a message on Twitter that suggested he would be open to discussing terms.

"I read in the media that [the] Tampa Bay Buccaneers are interested," Freeman wrote.

"A number of teams are interested, but we can't negotiate through the media, the Buccaneers can reach out to me directly."

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologised again after saying he disagreed with protests when players kneel during the national anthem.

Brees, 41, faced criticism after his comments on Wednesday, although the veteran apologised the following day.

His comments came after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, prompting demonstrations across the United States and beyond.

After posting a lengthy apology on Instagram, Brees later produced a video to again say sorry.

"I know there's not much that I can say that would make things any better right now, but I just want you to see in my eyes how sorry I am for the comments that I made yesterday," he said.

"I know that it hurt many people, especially friends, team-mates, former team-mates, loved ones, people that I care and respect deeply. That was never my intention.

"I wish I would've laid out what was on my heart in regards to the George Floyd murder, Ahmaud Arbery, the years and years of social injustice, police brutality and the need for so much reform and change in regards to legislation and so many other things to bring equality to our black communities.

"I am sorry and I will do better and I will be part of the solution and I am your ally and I know no words will do that justice."

Brees' comments came years after sports stars across the globe kneeled during anthems, echoing Colin Kaepernick's demonstration during his time in the NFL.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against perceived racial injustice and police brutality.

Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes was among a group of players who sent a powerful message to the NFL in the wake of George Floyd's death.

Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, sparking protests at police brutality and racial injustice across the United States and beyond.

In a powerful video posted on social media on Thursday, 2018 NFL MVP Mahomes, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley and the Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott were involved in sending a message to the NFL.

"How many times do we need to ask you to listen to your players? What will it take? For one of us to be murdered by police brutality?" the group of players said in the video.

They added: "On behalf of the National Football League, this is what we, the players, would like to hear you state: We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people.

"We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting.

"We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said recently that there was "an urgent need for action" in the wake of Floyd's death.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologised on Thursday after facing criticism for saying he disagreed with players kneeling during the United States national anthem.

Former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem in 2016 as a protest against police brutality and racial inequality.

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores said he fully supports his players engaging in demonstrations to protest racial injustice, but urged them to be careful when doing so.  

The recent wave of violence and unrest in the United States has affected Flores, one of three current African-American head coaches in the NFL, on a personal level. 

He was close friends with former Indiana football player Chris Beaty, who was fatally shot on Saturday night in Indianapolis during a rally protesting against the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. 

"I've had a lot of conversations with players over the last few days. I support those guys," the second-year head coach said on Thursday during a video conference.

"I understand the emotion, what they're going through. But at the same time, I want them to be smart. I care about each one of those guys. I had a situation hit home pretty closely for me, so there's some fear on my end, to be honest with you." 

Speaking about Beaty, who played with Dolphins assistant Lance Bennett at Indiana, Flores added: "This guy was an incredible human being. It's sad. It's just another tragedy that we're dealing with. 

"Hopefully we can learn from it and make the necessary changes so these things don't happen again." 

Flores acknowledged it has been challenging for the coaching staff to have the players focused on football, while also realising the need for an outlet to express their frustrations - especially during an offseason where meetings and workouts have needed to be conducted virtually.  

"We've had conversations just like everyone else. But at the same time, these guys, they've been working also. They've been working on football," he explained.

"That's been a kind of place to get away for a little bit. But, yeah, our hearts and minds are with the Floyd family and the [Ahmaud] Arbery family and Breonna Taylor. It seems like we have to share our condolences. 

"These guys, they have my support. I know it's an emotional time." 

Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback Jake Fromm has apologised for using the phrase "elite white people" after screenshots of a text message exchange he was seemingly involved in emerged on social media.

Fromm, who was drafted in the fifth round of April's NFL Draft after spending three years as Georgia's starter, said he spoke to his Bills team-mates and the coaching staff regarding his language.

"I am extremely sorry that I chose to use the words 'elite white people' in a text message conversation," he wrote on Twitter.

"Although I never meant to imply that I am an 'elite white person' as stated later in the conversation, there's no excuse for that word choice and sentiment.

"While it was poor, my heart is not. Now, more than ever, is the time for support and togetherness and I stand against racism 100 per cent.

"I promise to commit myself to being a part of the solution in this country. I addressed my team-mates and coaches in a team meeting today and I hope they see this incident is not representative of the person I am.

"Again, I'm truly sorry for my words and actions and humbly ask for forgiveness."

However, several NFL players blasted Fromm, with his comments emerging at a time when people across the world are protesting against racial injustice and police brutality following the death of George Floyd.

His apology came on the same day that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the NFL's all-time leader for passing yardage and touchdown passes, also expressed regret having said he disagreed with players who protest by kneeling during the national anthem.

New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, whose team play in the AFC East with the Bills, said of Fromm on Twitter: "You and Drew aren't really sorry. Save the bulls*** ass apologies. The truth just came out, and you two aren't the only ones!"

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett tweeted: "Are you really sorry? Or are you sorry you got caught?"

Richard Sherman, a former Seahawks cornerback now playing for the San Francisco 49ers replied to Lockett saying: "You know the answer to that. Racists are never really sorry. They are sorry that ppl who don't agree with their racist stance have unmasked their truth."

The Arizona Cardinals cancelled meetings on Thursday to allow their players to remember George Floyd.

Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, sparking protests at police brutality and racial injustice across the United States and beyond.

The Cardinals issued a statement on Monday saying they were "committed" to being part of a "meaningful societal change".

Three days later running back Kenyan Drake revealed players of the NFC West franchise had been given the day off meetings in order to honour Floyd.

"Cardinals have granted us the day off from meetings to honour George Floyd's memorial," he wrote on Twitter.

"We are but a small cog in a big machine but gestures like these create dialogue and expands the vision to help take the next steps for a better tomorrow. Peace and love."

NFL coaches will be permitted to enter team facilities from Friday as the league loosened restrictions on club employees returning to their workplaces. 

In a memo issued to all 32 teams on Thursday, commissioner Roger Goodell announced he will increase the maximum number of employees allowed to enter team facilities from 75 to 100.

That is provided clubs adhere to state and local regulations as well as league protocols regarding preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

"As stated in my memo of May 28, members of the coaching staff will count toward the maximum number of permissible club employees in the facility," Goodell wrote.

"Beginning (Friday), clubs may increase the number of employees in a facility to a total of 100 subject again to state and local regulation and implementation of the protocols developed under the leadership of [NFL Chief Medical Officer] Dr. [Allen] Sills."

The NFL had granted teams permission to reopen their facilities on May 19 but limited access to select personnel and medical staff.

Coaches were still barred from entering team complexes in order to prevent potential competitive advantages created by differing state laws involving stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Players will remain unable to enter team facilities with the exception of those receiving medical treatment, and that rule is expected to remain in place until training camps begin.

 

Drew Brees displayed "true leadership" by apologising for his comments on NFL players who protest during the national anthem, according to New Orleans Saints team-mate Demario Davis.

Saints quarterback Brees came under fire on Wednesday for saying he will "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag" by taking a knee for The Star-Spangled Banner, as former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick did in 2016 to protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

The death of George Floyd while in police custody last week has brought those issues back to the fore, with protesters and sports stars across the world kneeling in a show of solidarity.

Brees' response was described as "hurtful" and "insensitive" by New Orleans team-mate Malcolm Jenkins, while NBA superstar LeBron James said kneeling had "nothing to do" with disrespecting the flag.

On Thursday Brees, the NFL's all-time leader in passing yardage and touchdown passes, posted a lengthy Instagram statement in which he said sorry for comments that "completely missed the mark", and the apology was welcomed by eight-year veteran Davis.

"Hearing Drew's apology, I think that is a form of true leadership," he told CNN.

"That's taking ownership. What we had hoped the first time was that Drew would elaborate more on racism and the sentiments of the black community.

"He admitted he missed the mark. So for him to come out and say, 'I missed the mark, I've been insensitive but what I'm going to start doing is listening and learning from the black community and finding ways that I can help them'... I think that’s a model for all of America because historically, in general, most of America has missed the mark in not hearing the cries."

Davis, a prominent voice in the Saints locker room, added: "For him to admit that he was wrong and say, 'I can do better and I will do better'. I think that is leadership at its finest.

"That's not easy; to come out and admit when you're wrong. For a long time I feel like a lot of people have taken that posture of not wanting to admit that they're wrong.

"For him to do that, I think it's very symbolic of America - especially all the ethnic groups that aren't people of colour or black people - in understanding, 'Hey, it's okay, you might have got it wrong, but don't get it wrong now'.

"That's what we have to be as a country. We can't get it wrong this time."

Drew Brees has apologised, asked for forgiveness and accepted he "completely missed the mark" for saying he disagreed with protests in which sports stars have knelt during the national anthem.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback says he "should do less talking and more listening" following his comments in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed.

Floyd, a black American, died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, prompting demonstrations across the United States and beyond.

One protest adopted by sports stars across the globe was to kneel, echoing Colin Kaepernick's demonstration during his time in the NFL.

Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest against perceived racial injustice and police brutality, the same subjects that have been brought to the fore once more by Floyd's death.

However, Brees said this week he would "never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country" in this manner.

The veteran's comments sparked responses of outrage - including from team-mates Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins.

Brees posted a lengthy apology on his Instagram page on Thursday.

"I would like to apologise to my friends, team-mates, the city of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday," he wrote.

"In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.

"In an attempt to talk about respect, unity and solidarity centred 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.

"Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.

"This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference.

"I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today.

"I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community.

"I recognise that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement.

"I will never know what it's like to be a black man or raise black children in America, but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right.

"I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy.

"I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognise 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."

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is praying to see the end of "a lot of hate" in the United States as protests continue in the country.

Protests have broken out across the USA in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in Minneapolis after a police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest last week.

Seahawks star Wilson, who has played in the NFL since 2012 and is a Super Bowl winner, is hoping for change in the country.

"Ultimately, it's a lot of pain, there's a lot of history in America. There's a lot of hate in America, there's a lot of division. I pray that we can be better as people," he told reporters via a video call on Wednesday.

"Some of this police brutality is staggering, and honestly that's not something I understand fully. It's pretty emotional just to watch some of the videos. Even in Seattle, my home, watching the things happening there, it's pretty heavy.

"It's important that we understand that being black is a real thing in America, it's a real thing in the sense of the history and pain, even my own family personally – my great, great grandparents were slaves.

"There's a lot of history there, and what I'm praying for is that we learn how to love and to communicate and to overcome, to try to have perspective."

Wilson, 31, said he had a "heavy heart" as he considered the future of his family.

"The reality is that me as a black person, people are getting murdered on the street, people are getting shot down, and it's not like that for every other race," he said.

"I think about my stepson, I think about my daughter, I think about our new baby boy on the way. It's staggering to watch these things happen right in front of our faces. So I have a heavy heart right now."

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