Saints quarterback Drew Brees, one of the 10 players whose names are attached to the lawsuit filed on March 11 after decertification of the NFLPA, has the right to attend every proceeding in the case.
He won’t be exercising that right for the perhaps the biggest battle between the players and the league, short of the full-blown trial.
Per the Associated Press, Brees said Wednesday at a charity golf tournament in California that he won’t be present in Minnesota on April 6, when Judge Susan Nelson hears arguments regarding the players’ desire to lift the lockout. And, frankly, that’s unfortunate. A member of the NFLPA* Executive Committee, Brees could benefit significantly from experiencing first hand the questions, statements, facial expressions, and body language of Judge Susan Nelson, who will preside over the litigation. Since Brees is smart, conscientious, and passionate about the cause, the players would benefit from his presence, too.
Beyond Brees, every named plaintiff and every member of the NFLPA* Executive Committee and, frankly, every NFLPA* player rep should attend. Every owner should be there as well.
Why? Because the parties need to understand what’s happening. They need to experience it so that they can make good decisions in the future regarding the case. And the lawyers need to remember that they are working for the parties, not the other way around.
Indeed, our guess is that Brees isn’t attending because the lawyers representing the players have told him he doesn’t need to be there. If so, the lawyers are wrong. Drew needs to be involved. He needs to ask tough questions of the lawyers, so that they don’t take over the process, any more than perhaps they already have.
(Maybe that’s why they told him he doesn’t need to attend.)
We respect Brees for attaching his name to the lawsuit. But this isn’t the same thing as endorsing a product. He and the other named plaintiffs have assumed a responsibility to all players, past, present, and future. If they are going to do it the right way, they need to be fully involved.
Drew strikes us as a guy who does things the right way. And that only reinforces our belief that he currently doesn’t plan to attend because the lawyers have downplayed the importance of his presence.