Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre weighed in on the National Anthem controversy as NFL players plan to kneel in protest of police brutality this coming season.
Speaking with USA Today, the Super Bowl champion said that he understands why some players choose to kneel while others choose to stand, arguing that both should be understood.
“I know from being in an NFL locker room for 20 years, regardless of race, background, money you grew up with, we were all brothers it didn’t matter,” Favre said on Monday. “Guys got along great. Will that be the same (with kneeling scenario)? I don’t know. If one guy chooses to stand for his cause and another guy chooses to kneel for his cause, is one right and the other wrong? I don’t believe so. We tend to be fixed on highs.”
Favre added that, as a white man, it was not his place to judge the protests of black NFL players.
“I don’t know what it’s like to be Black. It’s not for me to say what’s right and what’s wrong. I do know we should all be treated equal. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be in America,” he asserted.
“There’s no right answer,” he added. “Other than, the right answer is that we all get along. It seems like the more people try the more damage is done.”
This past June, as the Black Lives Matter protests swept the nation, Favre said that former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick – the man who sparked the anthem protests – achieved a kind of “hero status,” even going so far as to compare him with Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinal player who died while serving in the U.S. Army following the September 11 terror attacks.
“Boy, I suppose that he’s helped his cause tremendously and is deserving of much praise and respect,” Favre told TMZ Sports, “because it’s not easy for a guy his age, black or white, Hispanic, whatever, to stop something that you’ve always dreamed of doing and put it on hold, maybe forever, for something that you believe in.”
“You know, I can only think of, right off the top of my head, Pat Tillman, as another guy who did something, you know, similar, and we regard him as a hero,” he continued. “So, I assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well.”
Quarterback Drew Brees of the Seattle Saints initially opposed kneeling during the National Anthem; he reversed his position after facing severe backlash. Speaking with media earlier this month, Brees said that he will still stand for the anthem, but understood how his initial words hurt people.
“Going back to my comment on June 3, to think for a second that New Orleans or the state of Louisiana or the black community would think that I was not standing with them for social justice, that completely broke my heart. It was crushing. Never, ever would I feel that way,” he said.
“I recognize that I missed an opportunity that day. I had an opportunity to talk about and emphasize the social injustices that exist for our black community and our need as a country to support them and to advocate for systemic change. And my lack of awareness in that moment hurt a lot of people,” he continued.
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