Martin Luther King's Daughter Tells Drew Brees The Only Kind of Kneeling He Should Be Bothered By

Martin Luther King's daughter Bernice King has joined the chorus of voices criticizing New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for suggesting players who knelt during the national anthem "disrespected the flag of the United States."

The protests began in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the anthem to protest racial discrimination and police brutality.

The gesture transformed Kaepernick into a global icon but split public opinion, with President Donald Trump labeling players who joined the protests "sons of b******" and urging team owners to fire them.

In the wake of the protests over George Floyd's death, a large number of players could take a knee during the national anthem in the upcoming NFL season.

Brees, however, reiterated he would never agree with the protest.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," the 41-year-old said in an interview with Yahoo Finance on Wednesday.

"Let me just tell what I see or what I feel when the national anthem is played and when I look at the flag of the United States.

"I envision my two grandfathers, who fought for this country during world war two, one in the Army and one in the Marine Corps. Both risking their lives to protect our country and to try to make our country and this world a better place. So every time I stand with my hand over my heart looking at that flag and singing the national anthem, that's what I think about."

King responded to Brees by tweeting a collage of pictures of white people taking part in the so-called "George Floyd Challenge," a social media trend that has emerged on Snapchat, where the participants mock the death of the 46-year-old African American.

Floyd died in Minneapolis last week while in police custody and several videos emerged of a white police officer kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes while arresting him. Footage shows Floyd pleading for help, telling the officer he can't breathe, before seemingly losing consciousness.

"This is the kind of kneeling Drew [Brees] should be bothered by," King wrote on Twitter.

King wasn't the only high-profile figure to rebuke Brees for his comments, as the 13-time Pro Bowler was widely panned by fellow NFL players. In a series of tweets, Brees' teammate Michael Thomas said the quarterback "Don't know no better," adding that "We don't care if you don't agree and whoever else how about that."

Malcolm Jenkins, who has just returned to the Saints after six seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, also blasted his teammate's comments.

"Our communities are under siege and we need help," Jenkins said in a Instagram video. "And what you're telling us is don't ask for help that way, ask for it a different way. I can't listen to it when you ask that way. We're done asking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those, and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem."

In a separate video, Jenkins added: "Drew Brees, if you don't understand how hurtful, how insensitive your comments are, you are part of the problem. To think that because your grandfathers served in this country, and you have a great respect for the flag, that everybody else should have the same ideals as and thoughts that you do is ridiculous."

Former NFL star and nine-time Pro Bowler Ed Reed, meanwhile, said Brees "was doing his part in keeping black folk down."

Brees, the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns, then clarified his comments, indicating he was a supporter of anti-discrimination and social equality campaigns.

"I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice," the Super Bowl XLIV winner said in a statement to ESPN.

"I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis."

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints stands on the field during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 5 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Sean Gardner/Getty