Brees: Will never agree with disrespecting flag

  • Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
  • Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate

METAIRIE, La. — After earlier sharing a message of unity on social media, Drew Brees attracted backlash later Wednesday when he reiterated his stance on how he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America” during an interview with Yahoo Finance.

They were his first comments in the wake of George Floyd’s killing last week.

The star New Orleans Saints quarterback gave a lengthy response to ESPN when asked about the perceived conflict between those two stances — including the potential divide in his own locker room, where players like Malcolm Jenkins and Demario Davis are among the leaders of the Players Coalition seeking social justice and racial equality.

“I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice,” Brees said. “I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis.”

Brees was outspoken in 2016 when he said he supported Colin Kaepernick’s desire to speak out against racial injustice, but he disagreed with Kaepernick’s method of protest during the national anthem.

He has not wavered from that stance — though he insisted Wednesday that his actions should represent what kind of a person he is.

“I believe we should all stand for the national anthem and respect our country and all those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms,” Brees said via text message. “That includes all those who marched for women’s suffrage in the 1920s and all those who marched in the civil rights movements and continue to march for racial equality. All of us … EVERYONE … represent that flag. Same way I respect all the citizens of our country … no matter their race, color, religion.

“And I would ask anyone who has a problem with what I said to look at the way I live my life. Do I come across as someone who is not doing my absolute best to make this world a better place, to bring justice and equality to others, and hope & opportunity to those who don’t have it? That’s what I meant by actions speak louder than words. … My ACTIONS speak for themselves.”

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Words to unite.. A mentor of mine once told me that if you listen closely, the sound of children playing is the same no matter where you are in the world. The laughing, shouting, screaming, giggling… No matter what language you speak, no matter what your race, color, religion… the exact same. At some point we all change… The reasons… Our environment, experiences, education…The voices and influences around us. If you are reading this, you are probably one of those whose voice and influence is very powerful in the life of a young person. So when you ask what difference you can make in this world… It’s exactly that. Raise, teach, but most importantly model to young people what it is to love all and respect all. There is a saying in every locker room I have been in… Don’t just talk about it, be about it. Acknowledge the problem, and accept the fact that we all have a responsibility to make it better. “Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying”

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

Brees was referencing his social media post from Wednesday morning, which began with the header, “Words to unite” and talked about the importance of teaching and modeling to children “what it is to love all and respect all.”

“There is a saying in every locker room I have been in,” Brees wrote. “‘Don’t just talk about it, be about it.’ Acknowledge the problem, and accept the fact that we all have a responsibility to make it better. ‘Your actions speak so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.'”

Brees and his wife Brittany have been heavily involved in charitable efforts throughout his 19-year NFL career, including a recent donation of $5 million to help Louisiana during the coronavirus pandemic.

Brees’ comments were not specifically addressed by teammates immediately on Wednesday, though receiver Michael Thomas replied with an emoji to a reporter’s comment that read, “How can anyone watch George Floyd get murdered and their first response when asked about it is ResPEcC tHe fLAg.”

Thomas also retweeted other comments directed toward Brees’ statements.

Saints coach Sean Payton offered a passionate stance Tuesday, saying on social media that Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery were “murdered not killed” and calling for change in the November elections.

Saints and New Orleans Pelicans owner Gayle Benson released a lengthy statement Monday, decrying police brutality and announcing the creation of a Social Justice Leadership Coalition within both organizations involving Davis, Lonzo Ball and JJ Redick.

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Porn site goes after New Orleans Superdome naming rights with a great pitch

Stripchat evidently abides by the classic Wayne Gretzky quote, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” because the adult website company is taking a shot it almost certainly will miss.

Stripchat communications director Max Bennett confirmed to Yahoo! Sports this week that the company will bid up to $15 million for the right to name the iconic Superdome in New Orleans the “Stripchat Superdome.” Mercedes-Benz, which won the right to name the Saints’ home stadium in 2011, will not renew the deal that expires in 2021.

Bennett emailed Yahoo! Sports a portion of the pitch Stripchat submitted. Simultaneously, it makes a good point about name potential and likely ruins any chances of serious consideration.

“In our opinion, New Orleans is the party capital of the United States,” the text begins, truthfully. “It’s always been synonymous with nightlife and entertainment. It comes alive at night, with people wandering the neon-hued promenade of one the most famous nightlife strips in the world — Bourbon Street.”

No lies detected. It continues:

“I’d like to think that we here at Stripchat embody some of New Orleans’ character and flair. As one of the world’s leading adult webcam sites that averages over 60 million visitors per month, we know a thing or two about having a good time.”

OK, fine. But then the pitch goes off the rails.

“We have been looking into penetrating the sports world and think this is a wonderful opportunity to do so by announcing a bid of up to $15,000,000 for the naming rights to the Superdome.”

As Yahoo! Sports notes, Saints owner Gale Benson is extremely religious and likely would not be amused by this pitch. (The Superdome is owned by the state of Louisiana, but the Saints have the authority to sell the venue’s naming rights.) It doesn’t help that Benson recently had to release a statement defending the Saints public relations staff’s involvement in the release of a list of catholic church clergy members accused of sexual abuse.

Built in the early 1970s, the Superdome didn’t sell its naming rights until Mercedes-Benz purchased them nine years ago, which is part of the reason most still refer to the stadium as simply “The Superdome.”

A recent Forbes article that details the appeal the Superdome offers its next naming rights holder also lays out what the Saints might want in return:

“Across multiple conversations, it was obvious the Saints are asking for more than just money for a sign on the stadium,” the article states. “The Saints will ask the next naming rights sponsor to collaborate on targeted efforts impacting the Gulf Coast region, with an emphasis on education, innovation, environmental stewardship, world-class recruitment, sustainable initiatives and more.”

So no, despite some impressive efforts, the Superdome will not be called the Stripchat Superdome or the Pornodome or anything “synonymous with nightlife and entertainment.”

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Assistant GM says Saints a great fit for Jameis

  • Covered Saints for eight years at New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Previously covered LSU football, San Francisco 49ers
  • Iowa native and University of Iowa graduate

METAIRIE, La. — Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints had not finalized their pending deal as of Monday night, but assistant general manager Jeff Ireland made the case for why it’s a good fit for both sides.

“It’s a compliment to Jameis Winston to understand where he’s at in this world and sign a one-year deal here and learn behind Drew [Brees],” Ireland said during an appearance on the “Matt Mosley Show” on ESPN Central Texas radio. “Look, there’s no better teacher. If Drew never said a word to him, he would observe more than he’ll ever learn in football just by learning how Drew does things. He’s an incredible leader. He’s an incredible studier of the game, how he breaks down his opponents.

“And then you throw in [offensive coordinator] Pete Carmichael, [quarterbacks coach] Joe Lombardi and [coach] Sean Payton on the offensive side of the ball and those creative minds, Jameis Winston will learn more football in a year than he has in his lifetime.”

The upside for the Saints is obvious, too, assuming they can get Winston at a discount rate.

The Saints have continued to insist they believe versatile backup Taysom Hill could become the successor to the 41-year-old Brees — as they proved by signing him to a two-year, $21 million contract on Sunday. But the Saints have made it clear throughout this offseason that they wanted to sign a veteran backup quarterback who would be ready to step into a game if needed so that they can continue using Hill as a QB/RB/TE/WR.

Winston, 26, has as much upside as any veteran they could have signed. If signed, they would get to evaluate him as a possible successor to Brees. Or perhaps he’ll land a starting gig elsewhere next year — and the Saints could receive a high-end compensatory draft pick.

“It really probably won’t be too much different than last year,” Ireland said of the setup with Brees, Hill and Teddy Bridgewater, who started five games when Brees was injured. “We feel like [Hill] can start in the league at some point when it’s his turn, and that’s obviously why we invested in him. But we also need a No. 2 to really utilize [Hill’s] skill set and his upside to the full extent of his ability. … We can’t do those things [with Hill] if we don’t have a solid No. 2.”

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Saints among teams video interviewing Mason Fine

Sean Payton has his starting quarterback and backup returning for another postseason run. Could the New Orleans Saints offensive guru add a signal-calling project to the mix?

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Monday that North Texas quarterback Mason Fine conducted video interviews with several teams last week, including the Saints.

Before the NFL’s lockdown on player visits, Fine was working out with trainer Todd Durkin and Saints future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.

North Texas QB Mason Fine — who threw for over 12,000 yards and accounted for 100 TDs with the Mean Green — had video interviews last week with several teams, including the #Saints. Before the lockdown, Fine was working out with trainer Todd Durkin … and Drew Brees. ��

If you’re not familiar with Fine’s exploits at North Texas, you wouldn’t be alone. Fine was a four-year starter for the Mean Green, throwing for 12,505 yards and 93 touchdowns to 34 INTs in 39 games, including bowl games. Fine set the North Texas passing record as a junior and won back-to-back C-USA Offensive Player of the Year awards.

Fine, however, was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine this year.

The quarterback’s best trait is a deft touch and accuracy. Sitting at 5-feet-10, however, his size could be an issue transitioning to the pros. His tendency to get swallowed by pressure is also a concern.

Fine’s quick-throw acumen in the horizontal passing attack and ability to thrive in the RPO-game could pique Payton’s interest, as the Saints are expected to add at least one more quarterback at some point this offseason.

After not being invited to the combine, the inability to meet and work out for teams hurts players like Fine, who hasn’t had as many opportunities to answer questions about his play. Perhaps having a link to Brees could help find Fine a landing spot to compete for a job.

The North Texas quarterback could be a late Day 3 draft pick or priority free agent battling for a roster spot.

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