zach and deuce

Deuce & Zach agree: Brees said right things, action must follow

Deuce: "You have to be willing to get your hands dirty."

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By: Mark Menard

Drew Brees has now apologized twice for comments he made during an interview with Yahoo! Finance and offered a sternly-written rebuke in response to being tweeted at by President Trump.

Saints Radio Network color analyst Deuce McAllister says the words are appreciated, but there has to be more than just words from Brees.

"Words without deeds are worthless," McAllister said Friday night on WWL Radio. "And that's basically telling you that those words, yes, they do have a meaning . But you have to have some action with those words. And I know the first thing that comes back - 'Well he's given to the minorities' cities and communities. He's done so much for the community.' Yeah, that's true. I would agree 1,000% with that. But that does not eliminate what has happened as well.

"You have to be able to back it up. And it's not necessarily a photo shoot here, a photo shoot there. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty... And I think that Drew is 100% committed to doing that."

McAllister said if some good could come of the dust-up between Brees and his teammates, it's that the door has been opened for some tough, honest discussions.

"The conversation that we're having that has to be had that we don't want to have... it's one that hits you not only in an emotional way, but it makes you have to look at yourself," McAllister said. "That's not just from a black perspective or a white perspective or an Asian perspective or a Hispanic perspective. It's from an individual perspective.

"If you truly know and understand the racism that goes on in America, it's shocking to a point. But when you are the minority that it happens to, I don't want to say it's expected in a sense but that's kind of what happens."

McAllister said being a star athlete shielded him to a point from the harsher treatment others have experienced. But he knows what others have dealt with, and he still feels it.

"I will be honest. I, because of my skillset, have been an individual that may not have experienced what other individuals have experienced. I understand that. I know that," McAllister said. "But what about individuals that don't get that benefit of the doubt? That's who it's really tough for. And so when individuals like Drew Brees make that type of statement, it hurts. And that's being honest. That's the honest truth."

He said, while he never talks about it, there's an added weight on his shoulders every time he steps into the radio booth on Saints gameday to make sure a door that's been opened for the first time doesn't get closed behind him.

"To be accepted, to be equal," McAllister said. "You just want a fair shot... I know the importance of Deuce McAllister being the first African-American broadcaster for the New Orleans Saints. For me, my job is to be able to go out there and to articulate... to the best of my ability. I have never, not one time, said that to anyone that I work with. But I know what that means.

"I know the banner that I carry."

McAllister's broadcasting partner, play-by-play commentator Zach Strief, echoed much of what the Saints' all-time leading rusher had to say.

"Conversations like they had, they're difficult conversations," Strief said. "There's a lot of hurt on that team. There's a lot of people that feel betrayed by what Drew said.  That's not gonna be solved by words. That's not gonna be solved by statements. That's gonna be solved over time by action."

Strief said Brees isn't the only one who can take a lesson away from this.

"I think more than anything, it's taught everybody that all of our words can cause negative emotions," Strief said. "They can hurt people, especially with the injustices that have happened in this country. The fact that they have happened for so long, there is deep-rooted hurt. And when you speak up and you deny things that have unquestionably been happening for hundreds of years in this country, that is very hurtful. And I think that we have finally come to a place where it is no longer going to be accepted to hurt people like that. I believe that Drew will handle this the right way. I'm fortunate to know him as a person. But it doesn't excuse the hurt that was caused."

Strief said the incident has made him realize that some people's support for the fight against racism, including his own, should have come sooner.

"It's easy to stand up right now and say what I'm saying, but I didn't say that when it wasn't coming from every direction," Strief acknowledged. "And I think that's the hard part for a lot of people, the realization that you could have been part of the solution a lot sooner. And I'm sure that that is something that is weighing on Drew as well, just like it does me and a lot of people that I know. Realizing that ignoring the issues for as long as we have has just perpetuated the damage that has been going on forever. I hope and think that real positive change can come from the hurt that's happening right now."

Strief is optimistic though that the rift isn't permanent.

"It's a terrible time and moment, but it can lead to healing," Strief said. "It can lead to better things, and I believe and hope that that's what's going to happen."

You can hear both full interviews from "Sports Talk" by clicking the podcast link.

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