Amid a chorus of criticism Wednesday for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, perhaps the most stinging came from teammate Malcolm Jenkins.
Responding to Brees’ comments in a Yahoo Finance interview in which the NFL’s all-time leading passer made it clear he wouldn’t be in favor of players taking a knee during the national anthem this season – as they have in the past to protest racial injustice and police brutality – Jenkins delivered an emotional response on a 4-minute, 20-second video posted to social media.
“If you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you’re part of the problem,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins, a one-time Saints defensive back who re-signed with the team as a free agent this offseason, explained in his Instagram post that he spoke with Brees later in the day about the issue, but decided to post the video anyway to let people know “how these words and actions affect those who you want to help.”
In the video, Jenkins points out how the civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody on May 25 was exactly what Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players were protesting by kneeling for the national anthem.
Jenkins got emotional in talking about teammates on the field being united off the field.
“The same guys that you go into battle with every single day go home to communities that have been decimated,” he said before taking a moment to compose himself.
“I’m disappointed. I’m hurt. Because while the world tells you you’re not worthy, that your life doesn’t matter, the last place you want to hear it from are the guys that you go to war with – the guys you consider to be allies and to be your friends. Even though we’re teammates, I can’t let this slide.”