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Drew Brees says the response to his anthem comments was “crushing.”

Drew Brees has revealed the personal fear he felt after responding to his original comments about kneeling before the national anthem for NFL games.

The New Orleans Saints quarterback was widely criticized by teammates and other NFL players in June when he suggested that those not in front of the Star-Spangled Banner “disrespect the flag.”

Brees later apologized for those words and reiterated that he knew his comments were not correct when Donald Trump claimed he should not have “taken back” what he said.

MORE: Drew Brees’ wife says family has been threatened with death after comments

The Saints quarterback spoke to the media on Saturday, and before answering questions, he once again addressed his original comments about the national anthem and aftermath.

“Coming back to my comment on June 3, to think for a moment that New Orleans or the state of Louisiana or the black community would think I wouldn’t be with them for social justice, that broke my heart completely,” said Brees . “It was crushing. I would never feel that way. I recognize that I missed an opportunity that day. I had the opportunity to talk about and highlight 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 consciousness at the time hurt a lot of people. “

Kneeling during the national anthem is expected to be more common in the 2020 campaign following George Floyd’s death in police custody in May.

MORE: Here’s a full list of NFL players opting out of the 2020 season

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NBA players knelt and wore ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirts prior to their Orlando games this week and, shortly after Brees ‘comments in June, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged that the league was’ wrong to silence our players to protest peacefully “earlier.

Brees made it clear that he would face the national anthem this season.

“I will always stand for the flag because of what it means to me and to honor everyone who has sacrificed, who has served and died for our country and everyone who has fought to advance this country,” Brees added . “I recognize and respect anyone who chooses to kneel or any other peaceful protest to draw attention to the social injustices and systemic racism that so many in our country have endured and endured. I will always support and advocate for black and brown communities in the fight for social injustices. Always. “

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