Saints quarterback Drew Brees is both a member of the NFLPA* Executive Committee and a named plaintiff in the players’ lawsuit against the NFL.
But Brees says he isn’t fighting for himself. Instead, he says he’s fighting now to make things better for the next generation of players. And, contrary to what Sam Huff may believe, Brees says he’s fighting to get better benefits for retired players.
“I know that I’m fighting for so many people here, this is for former players in the form of improving their pensions and disability benefits to take care of those guys that built this game for us and future players too,” Brees said on XX 1090, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “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. 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.”
Brees also did his best to put the lockout in the proper perspective, noting that these are two groups of very rich men fighting over billions of dollars generated by playing a game, and they should be thankful that they don’t have much bigger problems.
“Part of me hates to even talk about our work stoppage and the fact that there’s this $9 billion dollar pie that owners and players are trying to negotiate over and come to a settlement over when you’ve got teachers in California being laid off because of budget cuts, and you’ve got this conflict in Libya that we’re involved in, and obviously the conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, our involvement there, you’ve got Japan and the earthquake and tsunami, and you’ve got New Zealand the same thing, you’ve got the oil prices,” Brees said. “I mean, you’ve got a lot more important things that are happening throughout this world that are affecting so many people. So to be sitting here talking about a work stoppage in football is something that seems pretty trivial compared to that other stuff.”
Brees is right: Football does seem trivial compared to that other stuff, and one of the great things about football is that it allows fans to escape from that other stuff. At least, it does when we’re actually talking about the game, and not talking about the lockout.