Drew Brees, the Mob, and the Poisonous Doctrine of Collective Guilt
Drew Brees, the Mob, and the Poisonous Doctrine of Collective Guilt
Written By Laurie Higgins   |   06.09.20
Reading Time: 11 minutes

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a committed Christian, and, before last week, deeply admired and liked by people of all colors and no color, committed an almost unforgivable sin. He said this in response to a specific question about athletes kneeling during the national anthem:

I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country. Let me just tell you 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. 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, it brings me to tears thinking about all that has been sacrificed, not just [by] those in the military, but … those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and everyone, 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’s 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.” (emphasis added)

“Progressives” became apoplectic and splenetic. Judging from their attacks, one would think Brees had publicly celebrated Derek Chauvin.

Under withering attacks, Brees offered two apologies because the mob hated his first one. Then his wife, Brittany Brees, issued an apology in which she said,

Somehow we as white America … can feel good about not being racist, feel good about loving one another as God loves us. We can feel good about educating our children about the horrors of slavery and history. We can read books to our children about Martin Luther King, Malcolm X., Hank Aaron, Barack Obama, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman.. and feel like we are doing our part to raise our children to love, be unbiased and with no prejudice. To teach them about all of the African Americans that have fought for and risked their lives against racial injustice. Somehow as white Americans we feel like that checks the box of doing the right thing. Not until this week did Drew and I realize THAT THIS IS THE PROBLEM. To say “I don’t agree with disrespecting the flag” .. I now understand was also saying I don’t understand what the problem really is, I don’t understand what you’re fighting for, and I’m not willing to hear you because of our preconceived notions of what that flag means to us. That’s the problem we are not listening, white America is not hearing. We’re not actively LOOKING for racial prejudice.

If saying “I don’t agree with disrespecting the flag” also says “I don’t understand what the problem really is,” then does kneeling during the national anthem mean both “America is systemically racist” and “I don’t understand why you value the flag and national anthem. I don’t understand what you see that’s good in America. I’m not willing to hear you because of our view of America as pervasively evil and whites as oppressors”?

Unlike Brittany Brees, I can’t speak for all of white America. I don’t know what all of white America feels. But I do know that for a lot of white Americans, teaching our children about the horrors of slavery and lynchings, about Jim Crow laws, and about Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Hank Aaron, Jesse Owens, and the Tuskegee Airmen is not about “feeling good.” Raising our children to love others, to hate bigotry, and to stand up for mistreated friends is not about “feeling good” or “checking boxes.” It’s not about virtue-signaling or pride. It’s about serving Christ. It’s about loving our neighbors as ourselves. It’s about truth.

“Progressives” argue that people who explicitly condemn police brutality and all forms of bigotry and who have never said or done anything racist are the problem if they don’t endorse kneeling during the national anthem. Just curious, does that principle of collective guilt apply to all egregious sin? Are people who explicitly oppose the sexual exploitation of women and children in pornography, strip clubs, prostitution, and sex trafficking, and who have never viewed porn, visited a strip club, hired a prostitute, or trafficked women and children a problem? Should they kneel during the national anthem as a protest against the many Americans who watch porn, leer at women in strip clubs, hire prostitutes, and/or traffic in women and children? Are our flag and national anthem now symbols of the poisonous systemic abuse of women and children that colleges and universities promote through courses that celebrate porn? Are Americans who explicitly oppose the sexual exploitation of women and children, who are pro-actively teaching their children about its evil, and who have never been complicit in it via using porn, visiting strip clubs, hiring prostitutes, or sex-trafficking, the problem if they are not “actively” looking for the sexual exploitation of women and children?

Former NFL player Shannon Sharpe said this about Drew Brees’s response to an interviewer’s question about the knee-taking of athletes:

[Drew] issued an apology … but it’s meaningless because the guys know he spoke his heart the very first time around. I don’t know what Drew’s going to do, but he probably should just go ahead and retire now. He will never be the same. Take it from a guy that has been a leader in the locker room for a number of years. What he said, they will never look at him the same because he spoke his heart. It wasn’t what he said, it was how he said it. He was defiant. I will NEVER [yes, Sharpe shouted that defiantly] respect the man.

YouTube video

BTW, Brees did not speak defiantly as Sharpe falsely claimed—making Sharpe, therefore, a slanderer. Don’t believe me? Well, watch it yourself and see if you think Brees was “defiant”:

YouTube video

Sharpe expresses the “progressive” view of “tolerance,” and this is why “progressivism” will destroy both freedom and the country. Brees saying that he disagrees with knee-taking during the national anthem while at the same time saying the flag represents the sacrifices made during the Civil Rights era and acknowledging that right now we have a lot of work yet to do renders him—in Sharpe’s repugnant view—unsuitable for employment or respect.

Brees’s teammate Malcolm Jenkins castigated him too saying,

Drew Brees, if you don’t understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem. To think that because your grandfathers served in this country and you have a great respect for the flag that everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts that you do is ridiculous. And it shows that you don’t know history. Because when our grandfathers fought for this country and served and they came back, they didn’t come back to a hero’s welcome. They came back and got attacked for wearing their uniforms. They came back to people, to racism, to complete violence.”

Brees never said anything like “everybody else should have the same ideals and thoughts” that he does. Moreover, Brees is justified in valuing the service of his grandfathers, and he is justified in his respect and love for America—the country to which emigrants the world over seek entry. He’s justified in loving America for her founding—though imperfectly realized—principles. He’s justified in celebrating the incredible integration of peoples of diverse races, ethnicities, and religions in America. He’s justified in appreciating how far we’ve come since slavery and Jim Crow laws.

It is possible for whites both to value the sacrifice and service of their fathers and grandfathers and to feel contempt for the injustice of black fathers and grandfathers being ill-treated following their service and sacrifice.

Vietnam war veterans—both black and white—were spit on by liberals when they returned home. Do we hold liberals who, not only didn’t engage in such behavior but also condemn it, accountable for that injustice? Do we blame such ugly behavior committed by some liberals fifty years ago on all of America? Does the American flag and national anthem symbolize their repugnant acts?

Jenkins continued,

And then here we are in 2020, with the whole country on fire, everybody witnessing a black man dying—being murdered—at the hands of the police, just in cold blood for everybody to see. The whole country’s on fire, and the first thing that you do is criticize one’s peaceful protest that was years ago when we were trying to signal a sign for help and signal for our allies and our white brothers and sisters, the people we consider to be friends, to get involved? It was ignored. And here we are now with the world on fire and you still continue to first criticize how we peacefully protest because it doesn’t fit in what you do and your beliefs without ever acknowledging that the fact that a man was murdered at the hands of police in front of us all and that it’s been continuing for centuries, that the same brothers that you break the huddle down with before every single game, the same guys that you bleed with and go into battle with every single day go home to communities that have been decimated.

Brees didn’t “continue to first criticize.” He has not been continually criticizing the kneeling protests. He didn’t initiate discussion of the topic. Brees was asked by an interviewer what he would do if teammates kneeled during the national anthem.

And while Brees didn’t mention George Floyd, he did acknowledge the suffering of the black community. To remind Jenkins, this is what Brees said:

[I]t brings me to tears, thinking about all that has been sacrificed, not just [by] those in the military, but … [by] those throughout the civil rights movements of the ’60s, and everyone, 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’s not. We still have a long way to go. … we can all do better and … we are all part of the solution.

What exactly did Jenkins mean when he said the kneeling protests were “ignored”? Likely he meant that there were many people who didn’t participate or support the protest. In other words, in Jenkins’ view, the only acceptable way to help decimated black communities is to protest the national anthem. But then isn’t Jenkins doing exactly what he accuses Brees of doing? Isn’t he demanding that everyone believe what he believes about the protests, the flag, and the national anthem?

Jenkins is ignoring that there are white people and black people trying to help decimated black communities. They’ve been trying for years, but they’re shouted down and called bigots for having different views than white and black liberals on how to solve the problems of racism and urban blight. Here are some of their ideas:

  • How should we address actual racism committed by racist individuals in police departments—most of which are controlled by liberals? Punish them and/or get rid of them. How do we do that? Revisit/reform “qualified immunity” and policies that conceal police misconduct and protect brutal cops.
  • How should we address crime in black communities? Work on transforming society by getting rid of no-fault divorce and using every resource available to promote true marriage and discourage out-of-wedlock pregnancies. Intact families with a mother and a father are the greatest protections against poverty and crime. And when crime is reduced in communities, businesses will move in.
  • How do we improve education? Offer impoverished families school choice and end teachers’ unions that promote destructive policies and protect lousy teachers. And stop teaching divisive and false ideas from organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center’s education arm Teaching Tolerance, or Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States, or The 1619 Project that present imbalanced views of American history and teach children of color that because of white oppression, they have no hope of moving up in the world.
  • How do we help blacks improve their financial position? Deregulate businesses and reduce taxes in order to grow the economy, thereby providing jobs.
  • How do we help eradicate bigotry, bitterness, and hatred? We preach the gospel—the whole gospel.

If Jenkins is concerned about the decimation in his community, why attack Brees? Why not attack “progressives” who have run the cities in which those decimated communities subsist? Why not attack the racism profiteers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson who make bank by fomenting racial division? Why not attack liberal leaders who deny school choice to poor black families? Why not attack teachers’ unions that protect lousy teachers in failing schools? Why not attack fatherlessness that results in criminality? Why not attack Black Lives Matter (BLM) that seeks to dismantle families, which are the single best hope for black children?

Here are just some of BLM’s principles and goals:

We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable.

We foster a queer‐affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.

Note that mothers and parents are mentioned but not fathers.

Are those principles and goals helpful to black children? Are they unifying? Are they good?

Jenkins was not done with his accusatory screed:

Drew, unfortunately, you’re somebody who doesn’t understand their privilege. You don’t understand the potential that you have to actually be an advocate for the people that you call brothers.

Will Jenkins stand behind whites who advocate for school choice, true marriage, and the end of teachers’ unions? Will Jenkins cheer whites who advocate against premarital sex and out-of-wedlock births? Will Jenkins cheer whites who advocate for the end of divisive, destructive diversity training and The 1619 Project that teach lies and foster division? Will Jenkins cheer for whites who advocate the ideas of Candace Owens, Thomas Sowell, Ben Carson, Bob Woodson and “1776 Unites” project? Or are whites expected to advocate for only ideas and policies that Jenkins, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Nikole Hannah-Jones and her 1619 Project scam promulgate?

Liberals have had fifty years to solve the problems endemic to urban communities of color—including eight years with a black president whose presidency saw black unemployment and racial division surge. Is Jenkins willing to listen to the ideas of others on how to help, how to advocate, how to get involved? Is he willing to listen to diverse ideas on how to rebuild suffering communities? Or will he say to black conservatives what he said to Brees: “you should shut the f–k up.”

It’s ironic that progressives have controlled most major cities for decades and have been forcing Americans in government schools and the corporate world to endure years of “diversity training,” “sensitivity” sessions, and “social justice” indoctrination, and yet we just suffered through the worst race riots since 1968 when Boomers and their rotten ideas began corrupting academia.

Their rotten ideas have—as expected and predicted—produced rotten fruit that is poisoning the hearts and minds of Americans. Race relations had been improving slowly but surely until the Boomers’ ideas seeped from sullied towers in bastions of idiocy like Berkeley to countless colleges and universities and then into high schools. Peggy McIntosh, White Privilege Conferences, and Howard Zinn’s revisionist history of the United States turned young teens’ minds into burbling cauldrons of contempt for America and its founding principles—those very principles that had brought us so far from the days of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and red-lining. With an erroneous understanding of American history, young Americans falsely believe that America was and remains a wholly evil country that must be destroyed and rebuilt in the recriminatory image of “progressives.”

Former NFL coach and Christian Tony Dungy, who likes and respects Drew Brees, expressed disappointment with his initial comments. Dungy said that “we need unifying voices, not divisive voices.” Dungy’s comments were disappointing in that he didn’t address the divisiveness of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, The 1619 Project, Critical Race Theory, or people like Al Sharpton. He didn’t address the divisiveness of the attacks on Drew Brees for saying—when asked—that he doesn’t agree with kneeling during the national anthem. But you see, Dungy wasn’t asked about any of that, just like Brees was not asked specifically about George Floyd.

Two apologies from Drew Brees and one long one from Mrs. Brees, all of which suggest they have joined BLM. These apologies bring to mind Winston Smith at the end of 1984. Sadly, it doesn’t take torture to get grown men (and women) to capitulate to a destructive ideology. All it takes today is a barrage of insults.

Every day, we see across America signs of hope and progress. We see interracial couples, multi-racial churches, multi-racial groups of friends, and upwardly mobile black families. Is America perfect? Of course not. No society can ever be perfect because humans are fallen creatures. Fallen creatures hate. People of all colors hate. But our founding principles are good, and they are guiding us toward better.

Over a dozen years ago, while working at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Illinois, I was helping a high school junior on her paper for American Studies (still co-taught by the same two teachers today). She cheerily told me that by the end of first semester in American Studies, she hated America and hated being an American. “Social justice” mission accomplished.

Listen to this article read by Laurie: 

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Laurie Higgins
Laurie Higgins was the Illinois Family Institute’s Cultural Affairs Writer in the fall of 2008 through early 2023. Prior to working for the IFI, Laurie worked full-time for eight years in Deerfield High School’s writing center in Deerfield, Illinois. Her cultural commentaries have been carried on a number of pro-family websites nationally and internationally, and Laurie has appeared on numerous radio programs across the country. In addition, Laurie has spoken at the Council for National Policy and educational conferences sponsored by the Constitutional Coalition. She has been married to her husband for forty-four years, and they have four grown children...
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