Benjamin Watson Responds To Drew Brees’ Flag Comments

While discussing racial inequality, Brees said he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America"

Tiki and Tierney
June 03, 2020 - 5:57 pm
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Drew Brees caused quite a stir Wednesday, as he shared his thoughts on racial inequality and civil unrest in America. While Brees said he loves and respects his teammates and will stand with them as they fight “for racial equality and justice,” he also said he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”

Former NFL tight end Benjamin Watson, who played with Brees from 2013-15 and in 2018, shared his thoughts on Brees’ comments.

“Well, I have a very close, personal relationship with Drew Brees, and so my view of him is different than others who may not know him,” Watson said on Tiki & Tierney. “What he said was his feeling. He explained his feeling in a way that I can’t explain it. He told everybody how he feels, and that’s how he feels. I will say this: for the same reason that he says he stands, those are a lot of the same reasons why people say that they want to kneel. If we redirect the conversation, I don’t think there’s any one way to show respect [to the flag]. For some, it’s kneeling.”

Watson, 39, did not kneel during the national anthem protests that dominated headlines during the 2016 season. Instead, he stood in honor of his grandfather who served on a Naval base in Norfolk, Virginia, during World War II.

“When the kneeling thing started, I said, ‘You know what? If guys want to kneel, I’m okay with that. It’s just not my method of protest,’” Watson explained. “I don’t begrudge [Brees] for how he feels. I understand what he’s saying. But the flag means different things to different people. I think the most important thing we all have to understand is just that. There are different ways, different methods, to show honor, different methods to protest, and also we are not limited by what one person thinks we should be doing when the national anthem is being played.”

Brees, 41, has already come under fire for his comments, with LeBron James, among others, taking aim.

“Drew is a friend of mine, and I know his comments carry a lot of weight,” Watson said. “His comments are going to be talked about for days and days and days, and that’s for him to deal with. But for me, I don’t have any problem. Honestly, the reason why people fought – and I’ve heard them say this – is so that we have the right to take a knee or to stand up.”

Brees’ teammate, wide receiver Michael Thomas, was not happy with his quarterback’s comments. “He don’t know no better” Thomas tweeted in reference to Brees, adding, “We don’t care if you don’t agree and whoever else how about that.”

“This is a very, very emotional time,” Watson said, referring to his other former teammate. “We have to be mindful with how we talk about these issues, no matter how we feel, for all of us, because with emotion comes very harsh responses that you may or may not have made if it was in a different situation. I know Michael. I know Drew. Those two guys love each other. They obviously have arguably the best connection between quarterback and receiver in the NFL over the last several years, and I know they’re going to talk to each other about this. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will talk to each other and hopefully there will be some understanding. 

“But in a larger sense for all of us, what we say during this time, we need to be mindful of that,” Watson continued. “We need to really speak the truth, but we need to speak it in love, and we also need to be mindful of how it’s being received by other people.”