While many leaders, writers and critics have called for unity to deal with police brutality and racism, it’s clear emotions in this country remain raw, and the path to understanding each other remains murky.

The recent contention surrounding Drew Brees is the latest example of that. 

On Tuesday, the New Orleans Saints’ star quarterback joined other celebrities in posting a black square on social media. He did it as part of the Blackout Tuesday movement supporting protests against police brutality.

On Wednesday, Brees drew criticism when Yahoo Finance’s Daniel Roberts asked how the NFL should respond if players began kneeling again during the national anthem. Brees essentially repeated the comments he made in 2016 that criticized since-blackballed quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America,” Brees said, before noting that he becomes overwhelmed when thinking of the sacrifices many Americans — including his two grandfathers, who fought in World War II — made for the country.

Brees’ conscious decision to conflate kneeling with disrespecting the flag, all while invoking a U.S. military that has nothing to do with the anthem protests, points at the heart of the disconnect that exists in America.