I’ve had a few notes in the mailbag in which some readers said New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is being greedy and selfish for playing such a big role in the labor situation.
Brees has been on the executive committee of the NFL Players Association, which decertified as a union just before the lockout began. Before anyone judges Brees, it’s probably only fair to hear what the quarterback has to say and what his motives are.
Let’s turn to this radio interview Brees did with San Diego’s XX 1090 to hear him out. Brees’ basic message, and I think he’s got a good point, is that the labor situation isn’t about him.
“To be honest with you, this is one of those things that when a settlement is reached, that settlement is something that I’m probably never going to benefit from,’’ Brees said. “It’s guys before me, it’s guys that are going to come after me. So for me, there’s so many guys that made sacrifices before us to make this game better, to improve health and safety in this game, and there’s still many things that need to be done to improve this game. And I think that’s what we have in mind as players, that’s what I have in mind -- is 'how can we improve this game for everybody?' And when we walk away from these settlement discussions hopefully with a settlement, it will be something that’s great for the owners and great for the players, but more importantly, it’s great for the fans and great for the game moving forward.''
Brees said he’s well aware the NFL already had a good thing going and, like fans, he doesn’t want to have the labor situation cut into or wipe out the regular season.
“The Pro Bowl had better ratings than Game 6 of the World Series, all right?’’ Brees said. “Does that make any sense? People love this game because it’s not just a game, it transcends just the football field. I mean, I’ve been able to see that firsthand in New Orleans. What would New Orleans do without football? Are you kidding me? I don’t even want to think about it.''
But Brees said there are business issues involved and that’s why he’s in this fight.
“We’ve always just wanted a fair deal,’’ Brees said. “It’s always been a 50-50 a split of the revenues since the early ’90s, but what we’re being asked to do by the owners is take a step back to what the league as far as a share of the revenues in the early ’80s. So we’re being asked to take a nearly 30-year step backwards over the next four years, which for us as players doesn’t make any sense, you know? So this fight was brought to us. We feel like we’re fighting for our lives and the future of the league right now.’’