Drew Brees criticizes NFL’s unilateral disciplinary system
Dan asked New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees how DeflateGate compares to the 2009 Saints scandal Bountygate. Brees told Dan you have to understand the background:
DP: Is there any comparison with what happen with Bountygate and what’s going on with the Patriots and Brady?
DB: I don’t think so and here’s why. Because I think you have to take a look at the environment as to what was happening with the league back when that whole Bountygate thing came about. The league was under such pressure about player health and safety. They were getting hammered about their negligence in regards to reporting the information that they had about the long terms effects of head and neck injuries. And this was right in the middle of the concussion lawsuits and a lot of the untimely deaths of so many players because of the effects of those injuries. And so they needed something that would show they were taking a very firm stance in regards to player’s health and safety. And so it was kind of a perfect storm where they had the opportunity to lead this investigation against the Saints but kind of with a predetermined result. Nobody got to see any of the investigation. Nobody got see any of the supposed facts of that case. It was just here’s what happened, here’s the punishment and that’s that.
And I think what they didn’t bank on was the fact that guys like Scott Fujita, who is one of the most high character guys there is being a former teammate and a great friend of mine ends of fighting that. And Jonathan Vilma ends up fighting that and others. And at the end of the day all those guys were vindicated. But unfortunately the damage is done, there reputations took a hit and the perception is there was something going on just because that’s what the league drove down your throat with this. And you know at the end of the day it was found it was much different than what the league said. But they had to do it based upon the environment that they were in with player health and safety. It’s a league lead investigation where nobody, myself, you, the public like nobody gets to see the facts of this case. Everything’s kind of behind closed doors, everything’s internal and yet here’s the punish and that’s that.
That’s why this unilateral decision making ability to give punishment by the Commissioner is really unfair. I think that there should be other people that are involved in that process. And at the end of the day if there’s disagreements then there’s a third-party neutral arbitrator who has the ability to come in and resolve that situation. But instead you’re never going to have that trusted system where nothing is transparent. It’s unilateral. it’s judge, jury, executioner handed down by the Commissioner. Trust me this in the best interest of the league. All the sound bytes that come out of the league office when it comes to player health and safety and when it comes to these types of decisions that are made. Where we as players, based upon the facts the things that have happened previously with Bountygate and other incidences where we just know that’s not the truth, that’s not the case. And we need a more fair process.