• Drew Brees was criticized in June following his controversial statement on kneeling during the National Anthem
  • Emmanuel Sanders said Brees cried during his apology to the team
  • Sanders said Brees has become "one of the best teammates” he has ever had

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders shared Drew Brees was emotional in an apology to the team following the veteran quarterback’s controversial stance on kneeling before the national anthem in June.

Sanders appeared on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday and bared that Brees actually cried while addressing the rest of the Saints in a team meeting.

The apology was so sincere, Sanders said, that the players felt there was no reason to dwell on the rage towards Brees and that it was best for them to move on.

"As he talked, the more and more he talked, you just see a guy with just tears rolling down his face," Sanders said. "I mean, I've never seen that. You could just tell that he was hurt by his comments and the things that people were saying about him because he was unaware of it.”

"I mean just tears flowing down his face,” he added. "We understood where he was coming from and we were able to move past it. I don't see any weird energy going on in the locker room."

Brees came under fire after saying that he will “never agree” with players kneeling during the National Anthem as a form of activism. The statement came amidst the widespread protests in the country following the horrific killing of George Floyd.

Shortly after the backlash, the one-time Super Bowl champion and MVP owned up and took full responsibility to his rather “insensitive” remarks.

"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.,” Brees wrote on his Instagram page.

"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.”

Sanders was barely getting accustomed to being a Saint when the controversy linked to Brees first surfaced. But while he admits that he took offense at the QB’s past statement, he said that the expression of remorse was enough for him to change his judgment that eventually led him to consider the 41-year-old as "one of the best teammates” he has ever had.

NFL star Drew Brees received death threats over his comments last week that he doesn't agree with players kneeling during the US anthem
NFL star Drew Brees received death threats over his comments last week that he doesn't agree with players kneeling during the US anthem GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Sean Gardner