New Orleans Saints veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins says that the conversations he had with longtime friend and Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees this summer was “important for the country and important for us”, according to ESPN’s Mike Triplett.
Brees said in June that he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag” by kneeling during the national anthem which led to harsh widespread backlash and criticism, including from his teammates such as Jenkins.
But the team seems to have worked passed the issues.
“I feel like me and Drew were friends long before 2020,” Jenkins said. “And obviously the dialogue that he and I had to have publicly, but also privately, I think was important for the country to do and important for us to do. And I think that even moving past that moment, it’s gonna be ongoing. But as far as a friendship, the willingness for both of us to engage in that dialogue has been cooperative and been encouraging.”
Brees said it “broke my heart” and was “crushing” that his comments had hurt people and made them feel as though he did not stand with the Black community for social justice.
The talks seem to have brought the team closer together.
“I think if anything, the team is probably closer for it, because we’ve had to have those tough conversations,” Jenkins added. “Oftentimes those adversities or those intimate kind of engagements bring people closer. And I think this is no exception.”
“All of our goals are aligned,” Brees said of the team. “This is not about me. Our focus as a team and group of leaders is on this season and all the things we can accomplish together for social justice.”