I’ve been a Saints fan for over a decade. I was never a big NFL fan, preferring watching my UVA Cavaliers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory year after year in the ACC. What turned me on to them was the culture around the Saints, and New Orleans itself.
When the Saints won the Super Bowl, I was surrounded by fans who didn’t care about race, color or creed when we were celebrating the win. New Orleans, the Saints, and Louisiana had a moment were they could all forget about the horrors of Hurricane Katrina. For just a little bit of time, people in the eastern wards could forget that they still had tarps on their roofs. Conservatives and liberals, black folks and white folks, it was come as you are in the party that is what the Big Easy is known for around the world.
So let’s move on to Drew Brees and Focus on the Family, and the video he produced for them. I have no issue with his religious views. I’m an avowed atheist and if he wanted to promote taking Bibles to school with any mainstream Christian organization, that’s his right. I don’t watch Saints’ games religiously to hear about who Drew thinks the universe comes from. I watch to see him throw passes with a skill that is surgical. I watch to see him lead improbable drives, and cringe when he throws embarrassing interceptions. Sorry, but even the best of all time make mistakes.
This is what you did, Drew. You threw a really bad interception and didn’t own up to it. The problem is that you probably knew that tossing in your lot with Focus on the Family was about as ill-advised as trying to throw a pass into triple coverage on Ben Watson, but you did it anyhow. Maybe someone called the wrong play, and you ran with it. I’d fire that person if that was the case.
I am going to remain a Saints fan, I’m going to continue watching the games with a few cold beers on a Sunday afternoon. But as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Focus on the Family is the antithesis of what New Orleans is all about. It wasn’t long ago that the Big Easy and the Benson family welcomed the NBA All-Star game to the city with a rainbow spotlight on the tower. The reason why the game was moved to New Orleans is because North Carolina had passed an awful bill against transgender people.
New Orleans has Southern Decadence, the Red Dress Run, and many other events that James Dobson’s organization would be horrified by. This isn’t a Christian organization that just wants to promote sharing their beliefs in schools – even though it is an attempt to slide around the 1st Amendment. Focus on the Family is a group that I listened to as a kid growing up, and it is very anti-LGBT. It promotes “conversion therapy” that tries to make LGBT people “normal” again. This practice is already banned in a number of states, because it is bullshit.
Here’s what you can do to make it right: Disavow Focus on the Family, reassert that you love all Saints supporters regardless of identity – and then go win us another damn Super Bowl.
P.S. If you need a PR guy to avoid future media fumbles, I’m available.