NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Welcome into Juan’s World where I’m purposely responding to things, after the fact. My emotions have been all over the place since Drew Brees said what he said, followed by Malcolm Jenkins saying what he said.
I could feel the passion of Brees’ words. I could feel the pain in Malcolms. And I could feel the anger building within myself as I asked the question, ‘why can’t we all just talk about this.’ Talking it out is supposed to lead to better understanding. Drew Brees didn’t talk enough with Jenkins and his many teammates that look like Jenkins.
They reportedly had a necessary conversation and, we hope, really listened to each other. The goal was for all sides to come away with a better understanding of where the other was coming from, based on what was said some 24 hours prior.
Was I surprised by what Drew Brees said on Wednesday? No! He’s been consistent with his words and Brees, more than any athlete I’ve ever met, is always very measured with his words.
Was I surprised with the reaction he got from his teammates? Of course not, because their pain is real and justified. And they felt like their team leader turned his back on them and their cause.
Am I surprised that so many of the people that wear number nine jerseys, not just on game day, but everyday in our city and across our great state, were so quick to turn on Brees? No! Because many of those people feel the pain of racial discrimination and systemic injustice everyday in our city. Their pain is what guys like Demario Davis , Cam Jordan, Michael Thomas, Malcolm Jenkins and many others are speaking up against. It’s what they believed Drew Brees was ready to speak up against as well, through taking a knee.
I stand every time for the national anthem because I love my country, even with her many flaws. There’s no place that I’d rather live, even with her many flaws.
But, I also know that kneeling in front of the flag can also be seen as a sign of respect and not dis-respect.
The healing BEGINS WITH LISTENING. We aren’t doing enough of it and the people in the streets are tired of not being heard.
Drew Brees finally LISTENED to his brothers in that locker room. He’s a better teammate for it today.
He’s also a better man for it.
Juan’s World, Juan’s World. Excellent!!!