Hall of Famer Warren Moon says he truly believes Drew Brees didn't mean any harm with his stance on the national anthem protests ... but now that he's apologized, it's time to step up and put his words to action.

Of course, Brees faced backlash from his teammates and other major sports figures for condemning kneeling during the anthem on Wednesday.

Moon -- who knows the Saints superstar personally -- is giving Brees the benefit of the doubt ... saying the QB was so passionate about his stance, he forgot to take everything into account before speaking.