Drew Brees has always carried with hima spotless record of humanitarianism and generosity. He donates to a countless number of charities, and he has helped Louisiana recover from one of the greatest natural disasters in state history.
He always carried himself with dignity and respect.
I have never had a reason to dislike Brees or the way he represents himself on or off the field. That all changed when the NFLPA dissolved, and Brees officially become a plaintiff and figure head in a lawsuit trying to spear the NFL and its owners.
I have not agreed with much of what Brees has said or claimed during this lockout-driven collapse of the NFL. But Brees took it too far with his recent comments to SI.com writer, Jim Trotter. Here is, in part, what Drew Brees had to say:
"Ever since Gene Upshaw passed away — I’m just going to lay it all out there — the owners saw blood in the water, they felt like, ‘This is our opportunity to take a significant piece of the [financial] pie back at all costs, a piece that we will never have to give back again. This is our chance, while they don’t have leadership, while they’re scrambling to find a new executive director. This is our time.'"
Don't let the distasteful words spewing from Brees' mouth turn you away, because he isn't finished yet. Brees continues to Trotter:
“Their philosophy was, We’re going to give you a very subpar deal, a slap-in-the-face deal, and hope that you’ll accept it because hopefully we’ve intimidated you enough into thinking that this is a take-it-or-leave-it deal, and you’re just going to succumb to the pressure,” Brees said. “Well, guess what. We’re a lot more informed and educated than in the past, and we’re much better businessmen than you think and we’re going to stand up for what is right and what is fair. Fifty-fifty is fair. It’s been fair for the last 20 years and I think the game has done pretty well over the last 20 years. I think franchise values have gone up at a pretty good rate over the last 20 years. So you can’t sit here and tell me that the system is broken.”
Just. Wow. I hardly know where to begin.
Firstly, let us completely put aside the conspiracy angle that Drew Brees is hinting toward.
It is ghastly to think that after the untimely death of legendary player, Hall of Famer, and union head Gene Upshaw, the NFL owners gathered behind closed doors and rubbed their hands together menacingly, thinking only of how this will benefit them financially in the upcoming labor talks.
While Brees sits in his elaborate home, with his beautiful family, he claims that "we're [the players] a lot more informed and educated".
Really, Drew? I am not sure how much proof there is to support that statement. Brees' comments hint at the exact opposite.
Next is the assumption that the owners somehow saw a benefit in the death of Gene Upshaw.
Likewise, if Brees had done any research on topic or wanted to show just how "more informed and educated" he was, he would know that Upshaw, while tough, had a great relationship with the NFL brass.
I do not like to speculate or fantasize over the impossible. However, it is likely that if Gene were alive today, the lockout talks would have been extinguished long ago.
Now, let's take a look at the sheer hypocrisy that Drew Brees brings to the table.
Inside his little bubble and within his faux reality, Drew actually believes that the owners had something to gain from the death of Gene Upshaw.
Likewise, I would put forth the notion that, if anyone, it is the NFLPA and it's management that are taking advantage of the untimely death of one, Gene Upshaw.
Let's think about this logically.
After the death of Upshaw, there were a number of strong candidates to become his successor, among them, Trace Armstrong and Troy Vincent. Both former players. Also in the running was sports attorney David Cornwell.
Instead, the players chose to elect a trial lawyer with little to no experience in the world of sports to lead [the players] to the promised land on the FIRST ballot by a UNANIMOUS vote.
The players just finished a term under former NFL player, Gene Upshaw, who had shown his ability to be very friendly with the owners.
That attitude would not be welcomed at the bargaining table, as the two sides banter back and forth on a new collective bargaining agreement.
And with that thought in mind, the players decided to ignore the outstanding promise and potential of former NFL player, Troy Vincent, and unanimously voted DeMaurice Smith as NFLPA Executive Director.
The players' vote was not for the best candidate.
They didn't vote for the individual who actually cares about the players, both current and former. They didn't vote for the man that will do what it takes but does not cross moral or ethical thresholds to get there. The players didn't vote for the man that would lead them for year to come.
No. They voted for the lawyer, whose only job is to be a blood sucking, demoralizing leech. Smith's only job is to batter and bruise the ego of the NFL and to suck as much money out of them as humanly possible.
Smith doesn't care about player safety, the integrity of the game, the prevalence of performance enhancing drugs, former players or their benefits, and he most certainly doesn't care about the fans.
This is the man that Drew Brees defends and blindly follows. This is the man who Drew Brees calls his leader.
So, please. Remind me who is taking advantage of whom, here.
Phenomenal NFL QB. Super Bowl Champion. And a man I once respected.