Drew Brees Distances Himself From Focus on the Family After Pro-Bible PSA

Drew Brees had to call an audible after the backlash.
Drew Brees had to call an audible after the backlash. YouTube
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has already taken his first hit of the NFL season days before facing off against the Houston Texans on Monday, September 9 (just before your Denver Broncos attempt to tackle the hated Oakland Raiders). Why? Because he recorded a pro-Bible public-service announcement for Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family.

The clip in question promotes "Bring Your Bible to School Day," an event that's taken place annually since 2014. And while the concept may be controversial in some quarters, Brees, whose faith is a key part of his public persona, certainly makes it seem benign in the spot, which runs for just 22 seconds.

"Hey, guys," he says, "one of my favorite verses in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 5:7, 'For we live by faith, not by sight.' So 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."

Here's the video:

Shortly after the announcement began making the rounds, the backlash arrived, with The Advocate, a publication that specializes in LGBTQ-related news, leading the charge. "He has been an advocate for anti-bullying with Ellen Degeneres," the organization tweeted. "So...we have a few questions."

So did plenty of other people on social media, as exemplified by this message: "It is not an attack on Drew Brees because he is Christian. What is the concern is the group he spoke for, Focus on the Family. They are known to be against gay marriage, adoption and support conversion therapy. That’s why!"

Focus's devotion to the widely reviled concept of conversion therapy is well known and long-lived. Look no further than our 2012 post "Focus on the Family Defends Gay 'Cure' After Past Supporter Rejects It." But FOTF has been attacked by progressive critics on many other fronts, too.

An appropriate example: When news broke in 2010 that former Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow had recorded a Super Bowl ad for Focus, a coalition of women's groups, including the Feminist Majority and the National Organization of Women, urged CBS, the network broadcasting the big game that year, not to air it because they anticipated it would carry an anti-abortion message. Recall that doctors recommended the procedure to Tebow's mom, Pam. Instead, she ignored their advice and gave birth to Tim.

CBS aired the announcement anyhow, in part because it made no overt mention of abortion or choice — though a clip on the Focus website to which viewers were referred certainly did.

Tebow never repudiated Focus after this brouhaha. But Brees has chosen to distance himself from the organization's more dubious stances, by way of a video addressing the matter:

Brees's reputation will no doubt survive this series of back-and-forths. Like ex-Bronco Peyton Manning, who saw no loss of marketability even after being publicly accused of pressing his naked ass into the face of a female trainer during his college days, he boasts an image that seems to be coated with Teflon.

Nonetheless, the latest dust-up will likely make future celebrity endorsers think twice about getting into bed, figuratively speaking, with Focus on the Family.

Even if both parties are holding a Bible.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts