METAIRIE, La. — Drew Brees said he felt compelled to speak out against Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem and said Monday that it was “bothering me all day long.”
The New Orleans Saints quarterback, who has long been a passionate supporter of the military, stressed that he has no issue with Kaepernick’s desire to speak out against racial injustice. He just has an issue with the San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s method of protest. Brees said the American flag is “sacred.”
“Like, I could shed a tear every time the national anthem plays if I would allow myself because it’s that powerful.”
Other Saints players spoke of seeing the Kaepernick debate from both sides.
“I respect his decision to stand up for how he feels, but I don’t think you do it in that manner. I think you stand up for the national anthem,” Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro said. “It’s bigger than just what’s going on around our country. You’ve got people fighting for our lives, fighting for our country every day. And I think there’s other ways that you can handle it.
“But that being said, he can do what he wants. And it makes a statement. I mean, everybody’s talking about it, obviously, now. And I think that’s the point.”
Coach Sean Payton took a pass when asked to weigh in and said his focus is on preparing his team for the season.
The Niners released the following statement this weekend regarding Kaepernick’s decision:
“The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
The Dolphins will get a conditional seventh-rounder, according to a league source.
The trade was first reported by the NFL Network and later confirmed by McCain on Twitter.
The Dolphins were deep at defensive end, which put McCain on the roster bubble and ultimately made him expendable. They have starters Cameron Wake and Mario Williams, who have combined for eight Pro Bowls, along with veteran backups Jason Jones and Andre Branch.
McCain (6-foot-5, 236 pounds) has pass-rush ability and can play a variety of special teams. His two signature plays in Miami were a blocked punt during his rookie season and a sack of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
The Dolphins signed McCain as an undrafted rookie in 2014. He played in 18 career games and registered seven tackles and two sacks. New Saints tight ends coach/assistant head coach Dan Campbell is familiar with McCain after serving as the Dolphins’ interim head coach last year.