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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.

9 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

11 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.