Brett Favre says there’s ‘no right answer’ to kneeling during the national anthem
Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre wonders how NFL locker rooms will react during the 2020 season — when more athletes are expected to kneel for the national anthem.
"I know from being in an NFL locker room for 20 years, regardless of race, background, money you grew up with, we were all brothers it didn’t matter," Favre said. "Guys got along great. Will that be the same (with kneeling scenario)? I don’t know. If one guy chooses to stand for his cause and another guy chooses to kneel for his cause, is one right and the other wrong? I don’t believe so. We tend to be fixed on highs.
"I don’t know what it’s like to be Black. It’s not for me to say what’s right and what’s wrong. I do know we should all be treated equal. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be in America."
Protests over racial and social injustice have spilled into the sports world after the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed after an arrest in which a white police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.
After a 20-year NFL career, spent mostly with the Green Bay Packers, Brett Favre was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. (Photo: Aaron Doster, USA TODAY Sports)
For the NBA's restarted season in Orlando, Florida, all but two players have knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and support the Black Lives Matter movement. Players have also worn social justice messages on the back of their jerseys.
A similar display is expected in the NFL, where the anthem kneeling began four years ago when former quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to take a knee to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
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This offseason, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appeared in a video in which he admitted the league was wrong for not supporting players' peaceful protests. That came after a video was released on social media that featured many Black players calling out the league for not supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and the players' fight for social justice. One notable quarterback, Drew Brees, experienced backlash because of his comments when explaining that he wouldn't be kneeling because of his respect for the military.
Favre, who played with four teams, including 16 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, said he felt a camaraderie with all of his teammates but questioned if a serious issue like kneeling would divide teammates.
"There's no right answer," Favre said to the idea of kneeling during the anthem. "Other than, the right answer is that we all get along. It seems like the more people try the more damage is done."
Favre recently compared Kaepernick's legacy and sacrifice to the late Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals safety who left the NFL for the U.S. Army after the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks. He was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire in 2004.
"I can only think of — right off the top of my head — Pat Tillman's another guy who did something similar, and we regard him as a hero," Favre said. "So I'd assume that hero status will be stamped with Kaepernick as well."
Favre spoke with USA TODAY Sports in a phone interview as part of his affiliation as a brand ambassador for CBD product Green Eagle, which is hemp-derived and used for muscle recovery and pain relief.
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