President Donald Trump on Friday criticized Drew Brees’ decision to publicly apologize and walk back his comments about “disrespecting the flag.”
The New Orleans Saints quarterback apologized Thursday for comments he made one day earlier that he described as “insensitive and completely missed the mark.” He said Wednesday that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country” while reiterating his objection to NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.
Numerous black athletes, including NBA star LeBron James, expressed outrage at Brees. Several of Brees’ New Orleans teammates were among the NFL players who were irate.
Trump, though, said on his Twitter account that he doesn’t think Brees needed to issue an apology.
“I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high. …
“We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag — NO KNEELING!”
Brees posted an open-letter reply to Trump on his Instagram account on Friday night.
“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag,” Brees wrote. “It has never been. We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.
“We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week. We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform.
“We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?
“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”
Trump’s comments came hours before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell apologized and said that the league was wrong for not listening to players and their concerns about social justice and racism.
Social injustice has been a major source of tension in the NFL since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling before games during the 2016 season to bring attention to police brutality. Kaepernick hasn’t played in an NFL game since that year.
The NFL’s relationship with black players is under scrutiny in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A group of players requested the NFL take strong action on Thursday in a video directed at Goodell and other NFL officials.
Floyd, a black man, died on May 25 after white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes in an incident caught on cell phones. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting both a second-degree murder and a second-degree manslaughter.
Blue Jays agree to deal with first-round pick Austin Martin – Sportsnet.ca
The Toronto Blue Jays and 2020 first-round draft pick Austin Martin have agreed to a contract, Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae has learned. The deal is pending a physical.
Financial terms of the contract have not been disclosed, but the fifth-overall pick carries an assigned slot value of $6,180,700.
Martin was viewed as the best “pure hitter” in the draft and posted an eye-popping .377/.507/.660 batting line in 16 games with Vanderbilt before the 2020 NCAA season was shut down. He was expected to be drafted within the first three selections, but ended up falling to Toronto at No. 5.
The Blue Jays announced Martin as a shortstop on draft day, but it’s unclear where he’ll line up defensively. His versatility is another one of his strongest assets and he could end up at third base, second base or centre field if Toronto elects to move him off shortstop. It’s also possible he’ll be used as a super utiity-style player without a true, defined position.
Baseball America ranked the 21-year-old 16th on their latest Top 100 prospect list. First-overall pick Spencer Torkelson of the Detroit Tigers — coming in at No. 11 — was the only member of the 2020 class above Martin.
Fourth-round selection Nick Frasso is now the only Blue Jays draftee unsigned.
Washington Redskins undergoing 'thorough review' of team name – CBC.ca
The Washington Redskins are undergoing a “thorough review” of their name.
The National Football League team said Friday it has been talking to the league for weeks about the subject. In a statement, the team said recent events around the U.S. and feedback from the community prompted the formal review.
“This process allows the team to take into account not only the proud tradition and history of the franchise but also input from our alumni, the organization, sponsors, the National Football League and the local community it is proud to represent on and off the field,” owner Dan Snyder said.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “In the last few weeks, we have had ongoing discussions with Dan, and we are supportive of this important step.”
The recent national debate over racism renewed calls for the franchise to change the name, and sponsors this week started mounting their own pressure. Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change.
FedEx, the title sponsor of the team’s stadium in Landover, Md., said Thursday, “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.”
On Thursday night, Nike appeared to remove all of the team’s gear from its online store. Nike did not respond to multiple messages seeking comment.
Coach Ron Rivera, who said in a recent radio interview that now is not the time to discuss the name, called it “an issue of personal importance.” Rivera said he’d work closely with Snyder during the process.
Washington mayor Muriel Bowser said recently the name was an “obstacle” to the team building a stadium in the District.
The current lease at FedEx Field expires in 2027, and the old RFK Stadium site in Washington is one of several options for the team’s new headquarters, along with locations in Maryland and Virginia.
Experts and advocates have called the name a “dictionary-defined racial slur.”
Until this point, Snyder has shown no willingness to consider a change.
In late June, the team removed racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame. A monument to him was also removed from the RFK Stadium site.
Hamilton fastest, Stroll 7th in Friday practice – TSN
SPIELBERG, Austria — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in the first two practice sessions for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Friday.
Lance Stroll was the top Canadian, driving his Racing Point to seventh in Free Practice 2, less than a second behind Hamilton. Nicholas Latifi, racing his first Grand Prix in F1 this weekend, finished the second practice session 20th, 2.8 seconds behind the leader.
The British driver twice finished ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the 4.3-kilometre (2.7-mile) Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg nestled at the foot of the Styrian mountains in southern Austria.
Bottas was .356 seconds behind Hamilton in the damp and overcast morning run and improved to .197 back as the track dried and became warmer in the afternoon. Late in that session, however, he had to return to the pits because of a braking issue.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who has won the past two races here, was third quickest in the first practice but slipped to eighth in the second session and encountered oversteering problems.
Ferrari struggled for speed in the morning with Charles Leclerc 10th quickest and Sebastian Vettel only 12th, but improved in the afternoon with Vettel pushing up to fourth behind Sergio Perez in third. Perez’s Racing Point team uses Mercedes engines.
Although Vettel showed good cornering speed, he was still a somewhat distant .657 seconds adrift of Hamilton’s time in the second session.
Ferrari is racing with the same car it used in preseason testing in February and has not made any upgrades, while Mercedes and other teams have.
After making a late strategy decision in terms of aerodynamic development this week, Ferrari is not upgrading its cars until the third race in Hungary, where practice starts on July 17.
Austria is hosting back-to-back races as part of an eight-race European swing, after the season was postponed for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There are no fans allowed at races until further notice.
More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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