A Fresno City Councilmember is apologizing for remarks he made two weeks ago that some community members have interpreted as racially insensitive. Councilmember Garry Bredefeld found himself in hot water after wading into the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
Bredefeld delivered a speech from the dais last month supporting President Trump and blasting the protests from football players for what he considered to be disrespect of the flag and anthem.
He went on to defend Confederate monuments and appeared to blame African-Americans for a host of social problems.
The speech hit home emotionally for supporters of the protest, who say the players are only trying to highlight systemic injustice against people of color.
Councilmember Oliver Baines led off the criticism today saying Bredefeld had gone too far.
“You know, Garry, people of color want the very same thing white people do. We don’t want different things. We want the same things. So to insinuate that we need to focus on educational opportunities and family structure is insulting. As if we don’t do that,” Baines said.
For more than an hour, community members lambasted Bredefeld for his remarks, calling him racially insensitive and worse.
After the public tongue lashing, Bredefeld apologized.
“As a psychologist, my work has always been about healing people and healing wounds. Not creating them or pulling off scabs from old wounds, which, clearly, I did. I want to ensure you that was not my intent. And for the pain that I have caused, I sincerely apologize,” Bredefeld said.
Bredefeld says he was initially moved because of his background as a veteran and thanked the public and his colleagues for expressing their concerns to him. He also said he understands racism is a factor in modern American life and condemns it.
However, Bredefeld stressed that while he may disagree with the message of the NFL protests, he supports their freedom to protest.