Today in the NFL in “Not Sticking to Football,” we have Drew Brees, quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, appearing in a public service announcement on behalf of the evangelical activist group Focus on the Family.
In a short clip posted on Facebook and YouTube, Brees, an outspoken born-again Christian, promotes “Bring Your Bible To School Day:”
“I want to encourage you to live out your faith on Bring your Bible to School Day and share God’s love with friends,” Brees says. “You’re not alone.”
Brees is an active force in charitable efforts in and around New Orleans; he was a key figure in helping the city recover from Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, and in 2010, President Obama appointed him as a co-chair on the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. President Trump dismissed Brees and other Obama appointees from the council in 2017.
The use of Brees in PR efforts opens up a new front in the whole “stick to sports” narrative. In the last few years, Focus on the Family has thrown considerable lobbying weight behind anti-LGBT and traditional-family ballot measures across the country, and the group’s efforts skew overwhelmingly in support of socially conservative causes.
It’s a sharp ideological departure from the NFL protests of recent years, which largely supported progressive causes and drew opposition from conservative fans and politicians, including President Trump. Whether those fans will be equally critical of an athlete not sticking to sports from a conservative angle remains to be seen.
Brees responds to critics
Brees took criticism for aligning himself with Focus on the Family, which he responded to on Thursday.
Here’s the full Drew Brees video statement, as the Instagram version cuts off: pic.twitter.com/CEB6Tb3YBD— Amie Just (@Amie_Just) September 5, 2019
“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 that somehow I was aligned with an organization that was anti-LGBTQ, “ Brees said in a social media statement. “I’d like to set the record straight.”
“I live by two very simple Christian fundamentals. That is love the lord with all your heart mind and soul. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
Brees went on to explain that he loves, respects and accepts all “no matter your race, your color, your religious preference, your sexual orientation, your political beliefs. It doesn’t matter.”
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