New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is taking on a more active role in the NFL players’ union, becoming the team’s assistant players’ representative. And while many high-profile players avoid speaking publicly about labor issues, Brady says he’s glad to publicly support the efforts of NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.
“I’m excited to see DeMaurice Smith heading our union. He’s a great thinker and what we need,” Brady told the Boston Herald. “What’s upcoming is challenging for the players. We’re very short-term focused. That’s the nature of the sport. We need to have a leader who sees the bigger picture.”
Brady said he believes strongly that the players deserve to be fairly compensated for putting their bodies on the line, mentioning former Bills player Kevin Everett, who suffered a serious spinal cord injury on the field, as a reason he thinks the union needs to fight for players’ rights.
“The Commissioner has talked about the risk the owners take. We’re not financially invested in ownership, so we don’t face that [financial risk], but we’re physically invested in this,” Brady said. “What’s the price tag for that? Ask Kevin Everett the price tag.”
Brady also pointed to the injury suffered by former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe in 2001 — the injury that made Brady the Patriots’ starting quarterback — as evidence that all NFL players need to be prepared for the day when they’re replaced.
“I saw what happened to Drew,” Brady said. “I’m trying to find ways to prepare myself for that day.”