The wife of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said on Sunday they received death threats over his comments about athletes protesting during the American national anthem. “Until we experienced the death threats, we experienced the hate, did I realise that these words were speaking directly to us. How could anyone who knows us or has had interactions with us think that Drew or I have a racist bone in our body?” Brittany Brees wrote in a social media post. Brees received plenty of backlash over his comments earlier in the week that he does not agree with players kneeling during the national anthem to protest the mistreatment of blacks in the US. “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said. View this post on Instagram WE ARE THE PROBLEM . I write this with tears in my eyes and I hope you all hear our hearts. I have read these quotes and scripture 1000 times and every time I read it and the words sink into my heart. I think yes this is what it’s all about...Only until the last few days ,until we experienced the death threats we experienced the hate… Did I realize that these words were speaking directly to us.. how could anyone who knows us or has had interactions with us think that Drew or I have a racist bone in our body? But that’s the whole point . Somehow we as white America, we can feel good about not being racist, feel good about loving one an 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 notion‘s 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. We have heard stories from men and women we have known and loved for years about the racism that occurred in their lives .. stories that were never shared or talked about because somehow they were considered normal. To all of our friends and anyone we hurt ...we will do better.. We want to do better , we want to HEAR you, and we will fight for you because thinking we are not part of the problem...is checking the box it means we are are not doing enough. It’s our job to educate ourselves. We are sorry -Brittany Brees A post shared by Brees Dream Foundation (@breesdreamfoundation) on Jun 5, 2020 at 1:55pm PDT Criticism came from all over, including fellow American sports celebrities such as LeBron James. Brees quickly issued a public apology that he stood by in a separate statement after comments from US President Donald Trump, who said the quarterback should not have changed his stance. View this post on Instagram To @realdonaldtrump Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. 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. A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Jun 5, 2020 at 7:10pm PDT “I realise this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees wrote on social media after Trump’s tweet. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.” Brittany Brees pledged that the family will now work to be an ally for the black community and help fight police brutality and racial prejudice against minorities. “That’s the problem – we are not listening, white America is not hearing. We’re not actively LOOKING for racial prejudice,” she said. “We have heard stories from men and women we have known and loved for years about the racism that occurred in their lives … stories that were never shared or talked about because somehow they were considered normal. “To all of our friends and anyone we hurt, we will do better. We want to do better, we want to HEAR you, and we will fight for you because thinking we are not part of the problem is checking the box it means we are not doing enough. It’s our job to educate ourselves. We are sorry.” A wave of protests against police brutality and racism has swept across the US in the past week, with many athletes voicing support for NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who ignited controversy in 2016 by kneeling during the US national anthem. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick, who said he was refusing to stand to draw attention to racial injustice, was later frozen out of the league and has been unemployed for the past four years. On Sunday, Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said he would be taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Peterson said he expects others on his team to join him. “Just four years ago, you’re seeing Kaepernick taking a knee, and now we’re all getting ready to take a knee together going into this season, without a doubt,” Peterson told the Houston Chronicle newspaper. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday the NFL condemns “racism and the systematic oppression of black people” and indicated that players who kneel during the anthem might not face any punishment. “We encourage all players to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter,” Goodell said. Brees has been active in community projects since joining the Saints in 2006. Earlier this year, he pledged US$5 million to the state of Louisiana to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.