New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees defended himself on Thursday against backlash he has received for appearing in a “Bring Your Bible to School Day” video released by Focus on the Family, one of the most well-funded anti-LGBTQ Christian organizations in America.
Founded by notable homophobe James Dobson, who in 2016 suggested killing transgender people who use restrooms associated with their gender identity, the group has pushed for so-called “religious freedom” laws upholding businesses’ rights to discriminate based on sexuality and gender identity, reports The Advocate. The group has also defended so-called “conversion therapy” practices to turn gay people straight.
Brees addressed the criticism he has received in a video on Twitter.
“Hello, everyone. There’s been a lot of negativity spread about me in the LGBTQ community recently based upon an article that someone wrote with a very negative headline that I think led people to believe somehow I was aligned with an organization that was anti-LGBTQ and so on and so forth,” he said in the video.
“I’d like to set the record straight. I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals, and that is love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul and love your neighbor as yourself. I think the first one is very self-explanatory,” he said. “The second one, love your neighbor as yourself, what does that mean to me? That means love all, respect all and accept all. So that is actually how I live my life. That is what I try to do with my family, with my teammates, with people in my community, with my friends. All people.”
“So, the fact that these rumors have been spread about me are completely untrue. What I did was I filmed a video recently that was encouraging kids to bring their Bibles to school for National Bring Your Bible to School Day,” he said.
“So, I’m not sure why the negativity spread or why people tried to rope me into certain negativity. I do not support any groups that discriminate or that have their own agendas that are trying to promote inequality,” he continued.
Hopefully this sets the record straight with who I am and what I stand for. Love, Respect, and Accept ALL. I encourage you not to believe the negativity you read that says differently. It’s simply not true. Have a great day. pic.twitter.com/4RdTahE7EZ
— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) September 5, 2019
In follow-up remarks, Brees told reporters that he was “not aware any of the things they said about them lobbying for anti-gay [causes] … any type of messaging or inequality or any type of hate type related stuff I was not aware of that at all,” according to USA Today.
“And again the video itself was just focused on National Bring Your Bible to School Day. It was not promoting any group. Certainly not promoting any group that is associated with that type of behavior,” he continued.
“Because I know that there are, unfortunately, Christian organizations out there that are involved in that kind of thing and to me that is totally against what being a Christian is all about. Being a Christian is love, it’s forgiveness, it’s respecting all, it’s accepting all,” he added.
Drew Brees when asked about if he knew what Focus on the Family stood for.. pic.twitter.com/5WG6CwEEqO
— Doug Mouton (@DMoutonWWL) September 5, 2019