Fox News host Laura Ingraham was so upset Thursday night over the backlash New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has received for saying he’d “never agree” with NFL players kneeling to protest police brutality that she compared his critics to Josef Stalin.
A day after Brees supported #BlackoutTuesday, a social media campaign expressing solidarity with George Floyd protesters, Brees was asked by a Yahoo reporter what he thinks about “players kneeling again when the NFL season starts” and what his responsibility would be as a leader.
Brees, much as he did when Colin Kaepernick first began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, said “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” The remark prompted widespread criticism from fellow NFL players and athletes.
During an Ingraham Angle segment on the controversy, Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo highlighted tweets and clips of African-American players expressing their anger and disgust at Brees, culminating in an emotional Malcolm Jenkins saying how “hurt” and “disappointed” it made him.
With Ingraham shaking her head in reaction to the Jenkins clip, Arroyo defended Brees while warning viewers that there is now a “dangerous either/or mentality: Either disrespect the flag and anthem with particular protest, or you’re a racist.”
Ingraham—who once told LeBron James to “shut up and dribble” and not talk about politics—said Brees is “allowed to have his view about what kneeling and the flag mean to him” before taking aim at those disagreeing with the New Orleans star over his remarks.
“I mean, this is beyond football, though,” she exclaimed. “This is totalitarian conduct. This is Stalinist!”
After labeling criticism of a public figure totalitarianism, Ingraham wrapped up by grousing that protesters in New Orleans were cursing Brees’ name, complaining that this is “what this moment has done to the beautiful team spirit of the New Orleans Saints.”