Drew Brees blew it. Plain and simple.

At a time in America where emotions are raw, racial tensions are high and healing is needed more than ever; at a time where the NFL and its teams and countless players are attempting to convey support for people of color; at time where the sports world again has the opportunity to provide an example of unity, Brees committed one of the most egregious fumbles of his career.

He had the golden opportunity on Wednesday to serve as one of the NFL’s most prominent unifiers when asked how he and the league would respond if players resurrected protests against police brutality.

Brees could have signaled to his African American teammates and extended football family that he badly wants to understand their pain and be a part of the solution.

But instead, Brees strongly condemned protests that take place during the national anthem. He again distorted the message behind such gestures. He proved that — whether out of willfulness or out of pure ignorance — he still doesn’t get it.