Hackett: In regards to Drew Brees, how about a little H of G?

Jim Hackett
June 05, 2020 - 7:24 am

Dr. Paul Farmer is one of the most prominent and impactful figures in the world of global health. He has Mt. Rushmore level status for those who are social justice warriors. Those claiming to be social justice warriors should know of him well.

Dr. Farmer founded the organization known as PIH (Partners in Health), who are based right here in Boston, yet do God’s work across our planet’s most needy, developing nations, including Haiti for example. They have been providing boots on the ground help and care to the most impoverished nations in the world for over 30 years. Dr. Farmer and PIH led the frontline care for Haiti during the tragic and devastating earthquake of 2010. You can thank PIH for helping to contain the Ebola outbreak in 2014 as well.

He is the man who also coined the phrase: “A little H of G.”

Loosely translated allowing someone "a little H of G" means that you know someone has good intentions when maybe the words don’t come out quite right. H of G. Hermeneutic of Generosity; translated generosity of the heart. Seeking an exact definition, I found this quoted interpretation from Dr. Farmer: “I have a hermeneutic of generosity for you because I know you are a good guy: Therefore, I will interpret what you say and do in a favorable light.”

I think we have learned over the years that Drew Brees is a good guy. Can we please give him and all who dare to misspeak a bit in this day and age a little H of G? Please pretty please with sugar on top?

I’ve never met Brees, but I’ll go out on a limb; I’ll say that the man who established the Brees Dream Foundation in 2003 is a decent man with his heart and head in the right place. Since creating the Brees Dream Foundation, it has contributed over $33,000,000 to help improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need. I seem to recall his support and help for his people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was both significant and impactful too. Most recently in March, he made a $5,000,000 personal donation to the people of Louisiana in most need at the outset of COVID-19.

I guess what I’m saying is, come on guys. Cut the man some slack.

Were his words on Wednesday terrible? No. Terribly timed? To the general population probably. To those who have actively supported the cause and efforts of kneeling during the National Anthem, definitely, but the resume of the man and what he has done for his community and beyond, should buy Brees a little credit in the bank before he is publicly shamed.

He like you and me is human after all.

This country’s quick reflex to jump to instant outrage has become a national sport. It’s exhausting and it’s usually not only emotionally charged, but too often, the narrative begins before the story is anywhere near complete. Deflategate comes to mind in terms of America’s guilty until proven innocent modern culture.

Don’t get me wrong, I can clearly see how someone who firmly supports the cause of kneeling during the National Anthem, could take offense to what Brees said; particularly if it was said by a known ignorant moron like Richie Incognito for example, but Drew Brees? Hasn’t he done enough for, amongst and with the African American community to at least invite more conversation before the instant outrage?

Lastly, to those who so quickly jumped to outrage over Brees’ words, who label themselves as social justice warriors, did you reflect on any of his social justice actions before you jumped ugly? Or did you just dive into the divisive cesspool that’s sadly defining too much of our country in recent years?

America is a great country, with some terrible flaws. Our very real racial problems should be right at the top of that list. It’s sad, tragic actually. I understand better than ever why African American athletes kneeled together or locked arms in defiant protest of a very real and rigged system of inequality in this country. Supporting the National Anthem like how Drew Brees did Wednesday however, and yearning for and fighting for social justice and equality for all, need not be mutually exclusive. They are not. Both can exist. A passion for one’s country and prideful recognition of it can and should coexist with the hope, dream and aim for equality for all without limits.

Maybe if we all had a little more "H of G" we could actually get there.