Last updated on April 4, 2021
Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, on the heels of the Colin Kaepernick kneeling episode, commented in 2018 on the opinions of basketball players, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant. Both Durant and James commented harshly and profanely about the leadership of President Trump, to which Ingraham famously said, “ shut up and dribble.” Two years later on her nightly show, Ingraham said of Drew Brees, “He’s allowed to have his view about what kneeling and the flag means(sic) to him. I mean, he’s a person, he has some worth I would imagine…” A large part of Ms. Ingraham’s objection to the comments of James and Durant, besides being derisive to Trump, was that the athletes, by inference, were just dumb jocks.
Ms. Ingraham said she was not interested in the political opinion of, “someone who gets paid $100 million a year to bounce a ball.” In case anyone missed her point, she finished her rant by calling both athletes, “barely intelligible” and “ungrammatical.” Let us make a little comparison assessment; shall we. All three are $100 million or more athletes, future Hall of Famers, championships in their repertoire, and all three philanthropists and team leaders. Oh yeah, I forgot, but I doubt if Ingraham did, James and Durant are black, Drew Brees is white.
Under heavy criticism, and to his credit, Drew Brees apologized this morning for turning the televised murder of George Floyd and a kneeling Colin Kaepernick’s protest for racial justice back to a discussion about patriotism and respect. Brees, deservedly so, talked about both his grandfathers’ service to this nation and his pride and love for America, and with that, I have no problem. What Brees forgets and what white America misses consistently is the white privilege that accompanies that imagined exclusivity. When Drew Brees’ grandfathers returned from war they could eat at any restaurant, drink from any water fountain, Brees’ grandfathers could enroll Drew’s father and mother at any school, and neither feared lynching for daring to wear their uniforms as proud vets.
I had two great-uncles who served in WWII when they got home segregation still awaited them. Their human rights were a joke, the G.I. Bill was a lie and the blood they spilled and other black men spilled on the battlefield served as fertilizer for white America. So, Mr. Brees and Ms. Ingraham, there is a side to America you either do not or refuse to understand. I do not disparage the flag or the men who served and died under and defending its colors. One of my sons served proudly, I have an uncle whose training in the Air Force led him into his career work, one which he looks back on with pride.
Colin Kaepernick never kneeled because he wanted to disrespect the flag he knelt because Nate Boyer a former Green Beret told him kneeling was to honor the fallen. Brees has done some wonderful things for the citizens of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, both black and white. Decent thinking Americans have resisted the fascist tendencies of President Trump, but that same America seems determined to resist hearing what black America has to say. As much as social justice advocates and Kaepernick himself said it was not about the flag, two years later Brees made it an issue again. Old folks will tell you, ‘God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason, to listen more than you talk.’
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