Drew Brees, in the aftermath of causing a national controversy with misguided comments about peaceful protests in the NFL, could have said so much more. And what he continues to omit continues to speak loudly to some in the NFL community.
The Saints quarterback, commendably, did concede in his social media post that his remarks lacked "awareness and any type of compassion or empathy." He got it right when he noted he "completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country." But even his apology displayed what many players around the league perceived as a stunning lack of awareness by one of the faces of the NFL, who became an icon to a largely African American fanbase in New Orleans. Even in expressing his remorse on multiple occasions on Thursday, Brees has to yet to take ownership for distorting the reasons why Colin Kaepernick began to take a knee in the summer of 2016.
And that is a problem.
Brees avoided the issue of kneeling during the national anthem in protest entirely in his initial apology and a subsequent video posted Thursday night, which several NFL players I spoke to say will remain a significant issue for him until he does so. There is an inherent privilege in Brees feeling a freedom to reframe a black man's protest against systematic oppression to fit his own worldview, which some who play this game might never get past.