Drew Brees has been one of the faces of the NFL, one of the best ambassadors the league has had. He is a premier player at the centerpiece position (quarterback) who led his team to a Super Bowl and also helped heal a city (New Orleans) after a disaster.
But the guy has lost it, and he should be removed from any executive board position he holds with the NFL Players Association. In short, Brees still refuses to acknowledge the New Orleans Saints had any bounty system, even though former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (who orchestrated the whole thing) admits it existed.
“We didn’t get any meaningful evidence, or any meaningful truth or facts,” Brees told NFL.com when asked about any discussion on the bounty program at Monday’s meeting between the league and union. (The league has yet to announce penalties for players involved.)
There are two problems here: 1) That Brees, probably out of loyalty to his team, still hasn’t publicly admitted that the Saints had a program. It makes him look foolish; 2) Because of that loyalty, and an obvious conflict of interest, he should not be allowed to sit in any meeting as an NFLPA executive board member when penalties for Saints’ players are being discussed.
In fact, a case could be made he should be removed from the board altogether. Think about it: One significant reason for the uproar of the program is it undermines player safety. There is evidence of Saints players being told to head-hunt or take out a opposing player’s ACL. But Brees, a union representative, refuses to acknowledge that, despite evidence and confirmation from a figure involved, effectively giving his blessing to the program.
How does Brees rationalize that to his union brethren?
Let’s briefly go through a few reasons why commissioner Roger Goodell has disciplined the Saints organization, Williams, coach Sean Payton and assistant Joe Vitt:
– Via the NFL’s findings, the Saints operated the bounty program for three seasons, largely funded by players but “also occasionally” by Williams.
– Payments were made when opposing players were injured. Specifically, the investigation showed bounties had been placed on four opposing quarterbacks: Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner. Defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 to any teammate who knocked Favre out of the NFC title game in the 2009 season.
– Via the official NFL release: “Coach Williams acknowledged that he designed and implemented the program with the assistance of certain defensive players.”
– Also via the NFL: “Vitt admitted that, when interviewed in 2010, he ‘fabricated the truth’ to NFL investigators and denied that any pay-for-performance or bounty program existed.”
But Drew Brees wants evidence. He doesn’t look like a leader. He looks like a fool.
By Jeff Schultz