New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has a history of supporting anti-bullying programs, but now it appears he’s turning over a new leaf by partnering with anti-LGBTQ+ extremists.
Last week, Focus on the Family released “Bring Your Bible to School Day,” a new video featuring the Heisman winner. In the brief, 23-second commercial, Brees says, “One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 5:7: ‘For we live by faith, not by sight.’ I want to encourage you to live out your faith on Bring Your Bible to School Day and share God’s love with friends. You’re not alone.”
The video is part of a Focus on the Family project to train children to proselytize in public spaces.
This association is an about-face for Brees, who previously recorded an “It Gets Better” video to fight bullying in schools. “If you're making fun of someone because they are different, then you are no friend of mine,” he said in the 2010 video. Brees also partnered with Ellen DeGeneres on a petition to make the anti-bullying film Bully available to a wide audience and appeared on her talk show in support of the campaign.
Focus on the Family has a long track record of attacking LGBTQ+ people. In addition to promoting so-called conversion therapy to harm queer and transgender people, the group is opposed to LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination laws, as well as relationship recognition and access to adoption for same-sex couples.
In fact, Focus on the Family has worked in direct opposition to the same kind of anti-bullying programs Brees once supported. The organization created a campaign called “True Tolerance” to combat what they called “gay activism in schools” and accused LGBTQ groups of “promoting homosexuality.”
“What parents need to be aware of is there are activist groups who want to promote homosexuality to kids because they realize if they can capture hearts and minds of our children at the earliest ages they will have for all practical purposes won the clash of values that we are currently experiencing,” said Candi Cushman, an education analyst with Focus on the Family, told reporters at the time.
At the time, Focus on the Family was specifically targeting a “back to school guide” by the youth advocacy organization GLSEN, as well as inclusive children’s books that feature same-sex families.
This isn’t the first questionable group that Brees has partnered with. He’s also spokesperson for a multi-level
marketing scheme called AdvoCare. The company, which has an intense religious culture in which participants describe frequent discussions of Biblical principles, pushes members to buy products and recruit family and friends. According to financial disclosures, less than one percent of AdvoCare members make more than $25,000 per year.
Brees enjoys some of the most lucrative endorsement deals in NFL history. It’s estimated that he charges $13,000 to promote brands on Twitter and takes in $12 million a year from companies like Nike, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, and Wrangler. Brees also has a jewelry collection valued at $9 million, though he claims that it should be closer to $15 million.
Focus on the Family has ensnared other famous athletes in the past. In 2010, the group released a Super Bowl ad with former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, a move that led sponsors to distance themselves from the since-retired player.