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NEW ORLEANS–New Orleans Saints Quarterback and Purdue University graduate Drew Brees issued an apology Thursday for his comments on “disrespecting the flag,” saying he “completely missed the mark” on current issues in the United States.

During an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday, Brees said he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.”

In an Instagram post, Brees said he was apologizing to his friends, teammates, New Orleans, the black community, the NFL community and “anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday.”

“In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country,” Brees wrote.

“They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.”

An apology from Drew Brees in an instagram post

Brees continued to say he stood with the black community and condemns the oppression it has faced over the years. He concluded by expressing his dismay over how his words have affected people.

“I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability,” Brees wrote. “I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening … and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen.

“For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.”

Brees graduated from Purdue University in 2001 with a degree in industrial management. Brees set two NCAA records, 13 Big Ten Conference records, and 19 Purdue University records during his college career. He remains the Big Ten record-holder in several passing categories, including completions (1,026), attempts (1,678), and yards (11,792).

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