BOSTON (CBS) -- Drew Brees believes in standing with his hand on the heart during the national anthem, and he cannot agree with anyone who decides to take a knee in protest.
According the Patriots' McCourty twins, that is a disgrace.
The shared Twitter account for both Devin and Jason McCourty reacted to Brees' statement on Wednesday, urging Brees to fight for what's right.
"This is a disgrace!" the tweet began. "To speak about your grandfathers as if there weren't black men fighting next to them. Those men later returned to a country that hated them. Don't avoid the issue and try to make it about a flag or the military. Fight like your grandfathers for whats right!"
Tweets from the account are often signed by either Devin or Jason to differentiate which twin sent the tweet, though this particular tweet lacked such a tag.
Earlier on Wednesday, Brees said that he "will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." He said that during the national anthem before every game, he thinks about his grandfathers fighting in wars and the sacrifices made in the name of the country.
"I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart is it shows unity," Brees explained. "It shows that we are all in this together, we can all do better, and that we are all part of the solution."
That opinion is sure to cause some division within the Saints' locker room, especially at this particularly volatile time. All-Pro Saints receiver Michael Thomas -- Brees' favorite target on the field was seemingly reacting to Brees when he sent a series of tweets on Wednesday:
In line with the McCourty point, Thomas also shared a link that explained how 1.2 million black veterans were denied the benefits promised to them by the G.I. Bill.
LeBron James, arguably the most famous active athlete in the world, reacted to Brees' commentary as well.
Outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman also weighed in, stating that Brees is "beyond lost" on the topic.
Since Brees' comments went public, he's issued another statement, telling ESPN, "I love and respect my teammates and I stand right there with them in regards to fighting for racial equality and justice. I also stand with my grandfathers who risked their lives for this country and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis. I believe we should all stand for the national anthem and respect our country and all those who sacrificed so much for our freedoms. That includes all those who marched for women's suffrage in the 1920s and all those who marched in the civil rights movements and continue to march for racial equality. All of us ... EVERYONE ... represent that flag. Same way I respect all the citizens of our country ... no matter their race, color, religion.
Brees continued to ESPN: "And I would ask anyone who has a problem with what I said to look at the way I live my life. Do I come across as someone who is not doing my absolute best to make this world a better place, to bring justice and equality to others, and hope & opportunity to those who don't have it? That's what I meant by actions speak louder than words. ... My ACTIONS speak for themselves."
That may be so, but based on the immediate responses of fellow NFL players, words are going to carry quite a bit of weight as well as the country -- and to a lesser extent, the league -- navigates this unique period in history.
for more features.