Why Drew Brees Is the Worst Type of White Man, Explained

Illustration for article titled Why Drew Brees Is the Worst Type of White Man, Explained
Photo: Chris Graythen (Getty Images)

Tough week, huh?

Man. Remember how long and shitty everyone said March was?

Yup.

I want to buy March an Edible Arrangement and beg it to come back.

Man. I would serenade the shit out of March right now.

I’d be Keith Sweat in this joint. “Who can love March like me? (Nobody). Who can sex March like me? (Nobody) Who can treat March like me, my baby? (Nobody) Nobody baby (nobody).

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So, Drew Brees. What did he do?

During an interview with Yahoo Finance earlier this week, the future Hall-of-Famer was asked how he’d feel about black NFL players kneeling during the anthem when the season returns. It can’t be overstated how much of a softball question this was. He could’ve said: “My teammates are my brothers, and I’ll support them.” He could’ve added a little spice and said: “My teammates are my brothers. We don’t agree on everything, but I’ll support them.” He could’ve even built a nothing-burger and said: “It’s a complicated issue. I’m just focused on winning games.” He could’ve pivoted and shared his favorite scripture, or plugged a new sponsorship with Slim Jim. So many things he could’ve said.

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But?

But Drew went Full Wrangler and said “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”

And then?

And then he went further down the rabbit-hole of caucasity—perhaps he has a timeshare down there, I don’t know—and continued with a lukewarm bowl of whiteness alphabet soup.

“Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States. I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that’s what I think about. And in many cases, that brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed. Not just those in the military, but for that matter, those throughout the civil rights movements of the ‘60s, and all that has been endured by so many people up until this point. And is everything right with our country right now? No, it is not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better and that we are all part of the solution.”

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That was...something.

It’s “patriotism” cliché bukkake. It’s also telling that, in these sort of historical reimaginings, veterans are always only white men. Black people fought and died too, and for a country they weren’t full citizens of.

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So this, unfortunately, is common for white people. White men, especially. Rich white men, specifically. I’d be more surprised if he wasn’t this way. But what distinguishes him so that he’s the worst type of white man?

So there are a few reasons for this. First is that you’d assume—well, you’d hope—that a 41-year-old white man whose colleagues are predominately black and has spent his entire adult life working in a predominately black city, would’ve made the slightest effort to empathize with them. Just one open-minded conversation with one teammate or one fan or one stadium worker is all it would’ve taken to learn that Colin Kaepernick’s protest was not about the flag, and didn’t disrespect it either. In fact, before his protest, Kaepernick asked a Green Beret what to do, and the kneeling was his recommendation. (Also, for the record, fuck the flag anyway.)

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Agreed. Fuck the flag. Please continue.

So there’s that. There’s also the violence of him saying a thing like that this week. This motherfucker can read a coverage but he can’t read a room. Or shit, maybe he can. Maybe the MAGA mouthpiece thing was intentionally antagonistic and not accidentally. He gets no benefit of the doubt here. Fuck him. Did I say that already?

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Fuck him?

Yes.

No.

Okay good. Fuck him (again).

Got it. Anything else?

The main thing that distinguishes Drew here is actually why he was so beloved before. Post-Katrina, he latched onto and pushed the narrative that the New Orleans Saints were “healing” the city. And since he’s the star quarterback, he was the leader of that spiritual restoration.

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The homie David Dennis expounded on this yesterday:

Drew Brees owes so much of his legacy to the tragedy that was Katrina. Brees came to New Orleans in the wake of the storm and the way he catapulted the Saints to the playoffs and the eventual Super Bowl win in 2010 made him part of the story of the city’s rebuilding. And it is important here to note that Brees and his family have donated millions to the city beyond the revenue he brought as a singularly talented quarterback. However, his mythology is directly attached to a disaster that is a reflection of the racial inequalities Black folks face in this country.

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Ultimately, the Brees mythology was built on black pain, black death and our government’s apathy towards it. Without that, he’s just another good quarterback with great stats. And for him to refuse to even acknowledge the thing that made him an icon in New Orleans, just tells us what type of person he really is. Former Baltimore Raven Ed Reed said it best:

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Wow. I want no smoke with Ed Reed.

Man, Thanos wants no smoke with Ed Reed. But yeah. Fuck him.

Fuck him again?

Fuck him forever.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

“I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during World War II, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corp. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. [And I envision how they came back to the U.S. and were greeted as heroes! To this very day described as the Greatest Generation. And I carefully fail to envision all of their fellow black veterans from WWII, who came home and were beaten and killed if they dared wear their uniforms and received none of the Federal loans that were reserved for white veterans and were compacted into poor, depressed areas by the systematic redlining of black neighborhoods and banning of black people in white neighborhoods.]”

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