Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized on Instagram on Thursday after drawing criticism for saying athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice are disrespectful.

What he's saying: "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."

  • "I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference."

Brees's comments come as thousands in the country are protesting the death last week of George Floyd while in police custody.

Background per Axios' Ursula Perano: Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick first knelt during the national anthem in August 2016, after several unarmed black people had been shot by police over the summer, to protest racial inequality.

  • Kaepernick drew national outrage, including from President Trump, for his gesture.
    • He opted out of his contract in 2017 after the San Francisco 49ers planned to release him following the controversy.
    • He then became a free agent, but was not signed by another team.
    • He alleged in 2018 that NFL team owners colluded to keep him off rosters due to his politics.

Go deeper

Biden clarifies comments on African American and Latino communities

Joe Biden delivering a speech in Delaware in July. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Joe Biden explained on Twitter Thursday night what he "meant" by earlier comments suggesting that "the African American community is a monolith."

What they're saying: "Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things," Biden remarked in an interview hosted by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Association for Black Journalists, Politico reports.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 30,241,377 — Total deaths: 947,266— Total recoveries: 20,575,416Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 6,681,251 — Total deaths: 197,763 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 91,546,598Map.
  3. Politics: Trump vs. his own administration on virus response.
  4. Health: Massive USPS face mask operation called off The risks of moving too fast on a vaccine.
  5. Business: Unemployment drop-off reverses course 1 million mortgage-holders fall through safety netHow the pandemic has deepened Boeing's 737 MAX crunch.
  6. Education: At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable.
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Anxious days for airline workers as mass layoffs loom

Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, during a Sept. 9 protest outside the Capitol. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The clock is ticking for tens of thousands of anxious airline employees, who face mass reductions when the government's current payroll support program expires on Sept. 30.

Where it stands: Airline CEOs met Thursday with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who said President Trump would support an additional $25 billion from Congress to extend the current aid package through next March.