New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees always has been a pretty good quote. Often, though, he’s guarded and careful to be politically correct.
That wasn’t the case when Brees talked to Peter King recently. Brees delivered a strike that was thrown with as much precision and velocity as any pass he’s ever thrown. He sent a very strong message when asked for his feelings about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who obviously has been public enemy No. 1 in New Orleans through all the bounty drama.
"Nobody trusts him,’’ Brees told King. “Nobody trusts him. I'm not talking about a DUI, or using a gun in a strip club, which are pretty clear violations. I think there're too many times where the league has come to its decision in a case before calling a guy in, and the interview is just a façade. I think now if a guy has to come in to talk to Roger, he'll be very hesitant because he'll think the conclusion has already been reached.''
Similar opinions have been voiced by fans, and some other players have at least touched on how much power Goodell has. But, coming from Brees, this carries lots of weight. He’s the face of a franchise and someone who is highly respected in the NFL. His words are going to cause some debate among fans and media about how much power Goodell should have.
However, there’s also irony here. Back when the league and the NFL Players Association were going through their labor negotiations last year, there was a lot of talk about limiting Goodell’s power or at least involving other people in discipline issues. As a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee, Brees was involved heavily in the negotiations. There were a lot of different battle grounds in the negotiations, which really intensified as the time to start training camp approached. Compromises were reached on a lot of things. But, when all was said and done, Goodell still kept his power on disciplinary actions.
But suspended linebacker Jonathan Vilma is challenging that through the legal system. Now, Brees is challenging it in the court of public opinion.