NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One day after his comments on players taking a knee during the national anthem in regards to racial justice and police brutality set off a wave of criticism, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees took to Instagram to apologize.

In the apology, Brees began by saying, “In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy.”

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I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.

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He then clarified that he stands with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and supports “real policy change” that will make a difference. He finished by saying that he recognizes he should do less talking and more listening and asked for forgiveness.

His teammate, former Jets linebacker Demario Davis, said Thursday that Brees’ apology showed real leadership. And he told CBS 2’s Otis Livingston that rather than getting wrapped up in what Brees said, everyone needs to focus on the bigger picture.

“The thing we can do is honor those families by fixing the system. Then their lives stand for something,” said Davis. “That’s where we need to keep our attention. We don’t need to focus on anybody’s statements or divert our attention to anything else. All of our attenton united needs to be around the issue, fixing the issue.”

While Davis and many of Brees’ other teammates were forgiving, other players were not in such a mood. New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers was having none of it.

Neither was New York Jets safety Jamal Adams, who called out not only Brees, but Buffalo Bills rookie Jake Fromm, whose text messages saying only “elite white people” should buy guns surfaced Thursday.

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