ESPN's Maria Taylor delivers passionate response to Drew Brees' apology

Sporting News

Drew Brees issued multiple apologies after facing intense backlash for his comments about NFL players "disrespecting the flag" by kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality. While some of Brees' Saints teammates have already forgiven their quarterback, others are hesitant to fully accept his words, including ESPN's Maria Taylor.

On Friday's edition of "First Take," Taylor questioned why Brees had not changed his views earlier when he is part of a largely black league and had ample opportunity to learn about the reasons behind protests, especially in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

MORE: LeBron James rips Fox News host for hypocrisy in defending Drew Brees

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"I know what should reside in your heart is empathy, and I don't believe that you have to be trolled and dragged through Twitter and Instagram in order to change your mind and realize that what you said was intolerant and/or could be considered insensitive later," Taylor said. "If you had been educated and forced to confront the issues, and, like I said, had empathy in your heart, then you would have known the black experience is not easy, especially when 70 percent of your league is African American and these are the conversations that you should have had."

"My patience left my body when I watched George Floyd take his last breath. So, if that didn't affect you and make you want to reassess the way that you're going to address a question that includes racial injustice in our country after you watched that man die in the middle of the street, something's off," Taylor continued. "I don't know if it's your heart. I don't know if it’s your mind. But I don't accept either of them anymore. I will not tolerate it anymore. Drew Brees, I will accept your apology. But I don't have to sit here and wonder what is wrong or what is right and guess if you're a good or bad person. I am not the judge and/or the jury.

"All I can do is let you reveal yourself, and countless people are doing that right now. And for the first time ever, they are reaping some kind of consequence that does not have any retaliation for me or the people that are calling them out. For the first time, I feel like I can go on TV and say certain things. For the first time, people feel that they can tweet certain things, and people can be held accountable for the things that they are putting on display in the public. And I'm not going to apologize for that."

Some athletes tweeted out their support for Taylor, including LeBron James. The Lakers star was initially critical of Brees, saying protests have absolutely nothing to do with the flag.

After appearing on "First Take," Taylor shared a screenshot of harassing text messages she had received from a random number. She made it clear she will not be silenced.

"I don't care how much you guys harass me, I will still use my voice passionately and decisively right now, so that others can be heard later," Taylor said.

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