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Retired players’ complaint takes aim at Drew Brees

Drew-Brees-getty_crop_340x234 Getty Images

We’ve been trying, unsuccessfully to date, to get our hands on the new complaint filed by a group of retired players against the NFL, the named plaintiffs in the Tom Brady antitrust action, and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith.

The folks at CourthouseNews.com have seen the 64-page document, and they’ve pointed out one specific portion that takes aim at Saints quarterback and Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees.

In support of the argument that current players aren’t committed to taking care of the retired players, the lawsuit echoes this quote from Brees:  “There’s some guys out there that have made bad business decisions.  They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job.  They’ve had a couple divorces and they’re making payments to this place and that place.  And that’s why they don’t have money.  And they’re coming to us to basically say, ‘Please make up for my bad judgment.’”  The retired players claim that this quote constitutes “antipathy for NFL retirees” from Brees.

An active participant in mediation sessions that occurred before the labor deal expired and all legal hell broke loose, Brees has not been involved in any of the more recent talks, which possibly are laying the foundation for a settlement.  In April, Brees said that he “likely” will attend future sessions.  It’s unclear why Brees has yet to return.  (In a few days, if a settlement can be reached, it won’t matter.)

As to Brees’ comments about retired players, there’s a good chance that he’s right.  And we firmly believe that the current players have no legal obligation to carve off a piece of their total compensation in order to take care of men who played the game years if not decades ago.  Still, we believe that both sides have a moral obligation to ensure that the former players on whose shoulders the current players, coaches, and owners are now standing are treated fairly and properly.  It doesn’t mean that men who squandered their NFL money should get handouts, but it does mean that those who currently are making millions from a sport that supports such salaries should find a way to address the legitimate needs of the men who helped provide care and feeding to the goose long before it was popping out golden eggs.

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96 Responses to “Retired players’ complaint takes aim at Drew Brees”
  1. vbe2 says: Jul 6, 2011 8:53 PM

    Brees comes off like a spoiled little kid that has no idea of the history of the game and doesn’t care one ounce for those that came before him.

    For him to make such a broad statement and attach it to all retired players is akin to profiling. Do all African-Americans love watermellon and fried chicken? Can no white man dance with rythem? Did all retired NFL players “squander” their money on bad decisions and worse women?

    Brees needs to have all of his money taken from him and then given a small pension to try to live on. He’s been a spoiled sports player his entire life and has NO concept of what real life is like.

    He needs to shut his mouth and be thankful for the players that paved the way for him to be the jerk that he is.

  2. davidm1886 says: Jul 6, 2011 8:55 PM

    in what other job can you re-negotiate your retirement benefits while your retired lol

  3. canetic says: Jul 6, 2011 8:56 PM

    Drew Brees speaks the truth. What a bunch of crybabies.

  4. commandercornpone says: Jul 6, 2011 8:59 PM

    i am obviously not a member of the dimrat party, and i dont care for welfare. any kind.

    but brees slimed those who played without the benefits he has, and they are the ones who made his riches possible,

    he has come off as being quite churlish.

    in retrospect he just should have, in this youtwitface age, kept his freakin mouth shut.

    he will be retired someday, and he is an injury or two, an affair (and divorce) or two, a wreck or two, a mistake or two, another gaffe or two… away from being just like one of the guys he slimed.

  5. j0esixpack says: Jul 6, 2011 9:06 PM

    Brees stated a fact – it’s insulting to everyone – especially the retired players – for this group of players to attempt to use that to wring more money out of the current players.

    A Cadillac health plan for all retired players should be a given – beyond that I could see some modest level of financial support with players themselves paying into a fund moving forward.

    But I see no need for current players to create a 10 story high safety net.

    This move by the retired players makes me less sympathetic to their cause – not more.

  6. easyeddie says: Jul 6, 2011 9:07 PM

    Drew Brees is arrogant and one of the worst phonies in sports.

  7. lickenkittens says: Jul 6, 2011 9:08 PM

    I heard Joe Delamielleure talking on the local sports station. He was going on and on about how the union has ignored them and screwed them over. The host asked him that if a deal is reached in principle by friday or sometime this weekend, would they try to get in the way. He was like “Yeah I hope so. I hope we can…” You my sir would be the most hated man in America and no one would wanna hear what you had to say. That guy doesn’t know what he’s messing with.

  8. johnnyglutes says: Jul 6, 2011 9:08 PM

    Retired players that haven’t handled their money correctly can only blame themselves. The fact that some of them blame current players is ridiculous.

  9. eddiebills4 says: Jul 6, 2011 9:11 PM

    They need to remember that they will all be retired players in the near future… But I don’t disagree with what brees has said. I’m sure that’s the case for some, if not a large portion, of former players.

  10. AlanSaysYo says: Jul 6, 2011 9:12 PM

    Yeah, because making an off-the-cuff comment about “some guys” totally means you’re against taking care of older players. Apparently one’s reading comprehension suffers as a result of playing football for a living.

  11. TheRealist says: Jul 6, 2011 9:13 PM

    The NFL should take care of the players who have medical complications from the game. Players who were some of the big concussion victims and possibly other life altering stuff. The dudes who got real effed up playing in the days where concussions weren’t taken seriously. Most of the retirees need to stfu and do something with that college degree they supposedly were supposed to care about.

  12. goforthanddie says: Jul 6, 2011 9:16 PM

    1-Today’s player is tomorrow’s retiree. Someone should point that out.
    2-Bad investments aside, ex-players never got the cash today’s guys get. Joe Montana isn’t hurting for cash, but plenty of grunts that played in his time are. Brees needs to realize that before he runs his mouth.

  13. photopresspass says: Jul 6, 2011 9:20 PM

    Telling it like it is will always get you in trouble.

  14. tommyf15 says: Jul 6, 2011 9:20 PM

    it does mean that those who currently are making millions from a sport that supports such salaries should find a way to address the legitimate needs of the men who helped provide care and feeding to the goose long before it was popping out golden eggs.

    I disagree. Name one other group of employees from any other industry that does that.

    This also reeks of the retired players acting as if they can call everyone else every name in the book, but feel that the other side doesn’t have the right to present their own case.

    I used to care a lot more for the retired players before they started acting like a bunch of entitled crybabies. I wouldn’t blame the current crop of players if they said “at this point, screw them”.

  15. bearsrulepackdrool says: Jul 6, 2011 9:22 PM

    What more do they want?!?! Okay if they have health issues fine but if they broke because of no one else but them. Then its their own fault.

    We call that “thirsty”.

  16. bearsrulepackdrool says: Jul 6, 2011 9:23 PM

    More loop holes and issues the NFL has to go through before they can get to a new CBA.

    All these lawsuits no wonder they can’t get a deal done.

  17. scrapkingtb says: Jul 6, 2011 9:25 PM

    I thought most of these guys are concussed like Jim McMahon and can’t tell what day it is let alone how much their pension is. Invite them to the table….they will forget the day and time anyway…..

  18. ampatsisahypocrite says: Jul 6, 2011 9:26 PM

    Drew Brees, Mr. All-American Good Guy… yeah right. Now we see the real character behind the phony image. What a fraud. What a fake.

    What a punk.

  19. endzonezombie says: Jul 6, 2011 9:28 PM

    What was the support that these outspoken retirees ( when they were active players) provided the previous group of retirees? I am curious how much they pushed for increasing benefits then THEY were negotiating CBAs when they were active.

  20. annnann says: Jul 6, 2011 9:31 PM

    I remember in that exact interview Drew Brees also said about retired players

    “They shaped the game for us. Because of those guys, we have an opportunity to play this game, to make the money that we make, to get the benefits we get. We will always, always, always reach back to give to those guys. But there’s a way to do it.” 

  21. kiltherl says: Jul 6, 2011 9:33 PM

    Sorry guys no hand-outs…my job sure hell won’t give me one….

  22. ravensfan4life52 says: Jul 6, 2011 9:34 PM

    i find this interesting considering that brees thinks that the owners should have to pay his insurance premiums for the rest of his life, but he isn’t willing to help former players with the same thing. btw i’ve met him in person. he’s not a nice guy. had a lot of respect for him until i met him and heard some of the stuff he’s said during the lockout.

  23. pftstory says: Jul 6, 2011 9:38 PM

    Maybe the players of today are playing the game better, its a more exciting product, and they are just more skilled then the players of yesterday were. Everyone mentions how this rule change or that innovation was a key to increasing the leagues popularity. So there are two possible reasons why today’s players are where they are today finacially. Why is it just a standard assumption that the current players owe the retired players for the success they see?

    Not saying the game sucked when the retired players played, just saying maybe the league was built on rule changes and marketing.

    Why do the retirees get the credit?

    And please define the retired players?
    We talking LC Greenwood era, Elway era, Bart Starr era, Steve Grogan era, YA Title era, Ditka era? I might have sympathy for the guy who played in the 50′s, but the sympathy would drop heavy by the 70′s.
    But also people in the 50′s made far less in every field then people do today.
    Should the guy who designed space invaders be asking for some of the money made by Grand Theft Auto to be set aside for him because he “paved the way?”

  24. diamonddave13 says: Jul 6, 2011 9:45 PM

    I think both sides here have it slightly askew. Brees’ blanket statement is unfair to the vast majority who have lived quiet and uneventful lives, but still are still struggling. At the same time it certainly is not the job of the current players to provide for past players.

    In the end, the current players need to recognize that without the retired players, they would not be able to live the lives that Drew Brees and the like are able to live.

  25. jimmysee says: Jul 6, 2011 9:45 PM

    From what we read, some current players are squandering their NFL money as we speak.

  26. virginiaiggle says: Jul 6, 2011 9:55 PM

    Oh noooooooo!! You mean St. Brees isn’t perfect?

    I thought he single-handedly saved New Orleans and was foreseen to save the NFL players from the sins of the owners.

    Based on these statements you’ve reprinted, I really think he believes he is bigger than the NFL.

  27. bleedgreen says: Jul 6, 2011 10:01 PM

    I have no problem with them providing good health care for the retired players, but thats it. Your pension is what it is. You signed the deal for that pension and now you want more because you squandered it all? No way. Just like I think that players and teams should honor the contracts they sign, the retired players should too.

  28. Cole Henson says: Jul 6, 2011 10:10 PM

    I really don’t understand how the retired players have a leg to stand on.

    It really does suck that they have health issues from thier former work, but in 1970 league minimum was $9,000 for rookies and $10,000 for veterans and the average household income was $7564. So they still made more than much of the country even then.

    I’m just saying if I guy who worked in my cubicle 40 years ago came to me and told me that I should pay him money because I make more than he did in the 70′s, I would tell him to take a hike and so would most people.

  29. gimmeabruschi says: Jul 6, 2011 10:10 PM

    So, let me ask….

    How much of their compensation at the time did the “retired” players give to those before them?

    I would say they should receive the exact percentage they gave up to the retired at the time they played.

  30. maximus50 says: Jul 6, 2011 10:11 PM

    Brees is 100% correct. It is laughable that people think they are owed anything after retiring and working under previously accepted terms. Please name an industry where you can re-work the terms of your agreed upon pension several years and in some cases several decades after you have severed your ties as an employee. If the NFL owners and current players “WANT” to help, that is great for some retired players that might be in tough financial shape. However, the NFL and current players don’t “NEED” to do anything for former employees. Why would someone assume they should be set for life after just playing for a few seasons. So, you stop working at age 25 and you want to be taken care of for the next 50 years; yeah, ok that’s gonna happen.

  31. diditforthelulz1 says: Jul 6, 2011 10:19 PM

    Brees is correct. I wonder how big of a percentage these retired players gave to the ones before them. Also what they made was a result of what the market allowed for their time. These players make more today yes, but that’s because they bring more money in.

  32. patbocam says: Jul 6, 2011 10:25 PM

    Brees is right!!!!! Why is it his or any other current players responsibility to take care financially of past players from years past? Maybe he could have used a little bit better judgement in the way he phrased things but honestly hes dead on. Even Barry Obama would agree, ok maybe that’s going to far but geez what do these past players expect these guys are playing for millions yes, but that isn’t their fault.

  33. jskill3 says: Jul 6, 2011 10:29 PM

    Current salaries have skyrocketed. While Brees has a great point, in 1980, the average NFL salary was about $78K. That means a whole bunch of players made less, with the late great Walter Payton leading the way at about 500K/year.

    I’m not sure Brees can relate to the average retired NFL player. He has made more as a NFLPA officer than Water Payton did for playing the game in 1980. Walter’s contempories would be in their 50′s and 60′s now. Unless they made brilliant business decisions, they aren’t anywhere near Brees’ income from being an NFLPA officer, much less his $10 mil/year salary.

    Drew, find a bunch of offensive linemen from the 80′s, really understand their situations & what they need, and protect them financially. Otherwise, you are a rich jerk that really does not appreciate the people that got you into a position to earn what you earn. IMHO anyway.

  34. bradwins says: Jul 6, 2011 10:37 PM

    I don’t really have an opinion on how much the current players should contribute to the former players. Legally, they don’t HAVE to anything. Morally, they should probably do something.

    However, I do think the former players are right about Brees. His comments seem to come from the same place as the politicians who would eliminate unemployment benefits because they think it encourages laziness. There may be a handful of examples to support these arguments, but the vast majority of the people who would be impacted are in that position through no fault of their own.

    I have very little respect for people sit in the catbird seat and pass judgment on those who are less fortunate than they are. As far as Brees, I understand that all familial relationships are more complicated than an outsider can appreciate, but the way he publicly dealt with his mother undercuts his public persona as a choir boy, in my opinion. Regardless of the details of the relationship, no quality person trashes their own mother from their public platform. That kind of thing makes me question Brees’s makeup as a person, regardless of the fawning media’s construction of his golden boy image. He strikes me as a phony. His quotes here don’t help him in my eyes.

  35. cmill216 says: Jul 6, 2011 10:45 PM

    Further evidence that post-concussion syndrome is a major problem.

  36. mick730 says: Jul 6, 2011 10:52 PM

    Not a big fan of Brees, but I’m curious as to why some guy who, at the age of 22, enters the NFL and three years later, he gets cut and nobody else picks him up, but that same guy is entitled to health insurance for the rest of his life courtesy of the NFL?

    I don’t think so. If that were the case, does that mean that I can now go back to my first employer out of college and demand that they pay for my health insurance from now until the day I die?

    I think some lounge lizzards have let their hero worship of NFL players get the better of their common sense; if they ever had any to start.

  37. mediasloppy says: Jul 6, 2011 10:54 PM

    What Would Breejus Do? – Now we know…

  38. qoojo says: Jul 6, 2011 10:55 PM

    Couldn’t you make this same argument for any other job or profession that has taken off financially? At first, I thought the players don’t owe the earlier players a thing, but when you reflect on how the pie is cut up in the NFL, the players are partial owners in a way, due to getting a percentage of revenue. Considering the debilitating nature of the NFL, something should be done. So both the owners and the players should put aside a portion for retired player’s health benefits.

    I don’t have a problem with Brees’ statement. If someone was trying to take money away from me, I wouldn’t be too friendly either.

  39. mick730 says: Jul 6, 2011 10:56 PM

    “Drew, find a bunch of offensive linemen from the 80′s, really understand their situations & what they need, and protect them financially….”

    You’re kidding, right? Protect them financially? Why? Because some guy played left guard in 1982 means he gets a claim on a current player’s salary in 2011? You’ve lost your mind. No wonder this country is so screwed up.

  40. socalboy08 says: Jul 6, 2011 11:06 PM

    truth hurts..doesnt it…

  41. gimmeabruschi says: Jul 6, 2011 11:06 PM

    My first full time job paid me $1.75 an hour.

    I should go back and demand the employees there give me their money because I helped “build the company”, right?

    Nobody forced me to work there. I gladly took the job. So did these “retired” players.

    In 1980 if the average salary was $78K, you could buy outright a new house and a new car with that money. If you took $78K in 1980 and earned 12% a year on it, you would have over $2.5 million now.

    EVERYBODY involved in this situation is a greedy SOB. The “retired” players are just grabbing for the cash like the rest of the greedy SOBs.

  42. steelerer says: Jul 6, 2011 11:07 PM

    @vbe2

    You need to reread the article, brees wasnt talking about all retired players. What he said was true, it may sting, but its true.

  43. secondlinefilms says: Jul 6, 2011 11:22 PM

    wow there are a lot of sore a$$ losers posting their anti-Brees hatred.
    It’s ok, keep em coming, I’d be mad too if my team didn’t go to a Superbowl the last 5-10 years…viking fans :)

  44. brainsmasher says: Jul 6, 2011 11:22 PM

    The current players do not owe the retired players a damn thing except sympathy.

    The money they were making back then was good money or else they would have struck for more money.

    You have to be a complete moron not to think you were going to have major medical problems down the road from running full speed into other guys who were also running full speed at you.

    The retired players argument is with the league. They should be grateful that the current players have even gone along with them this far.

  45. iamgoodkid says: Jul 6, 2011 11:22 PM

    Tomorrow; Report: NFL Labor Talks breaks down preseason now in jeopardy

    Friday report: Still alot of work to be done on a new CBA but progress being rejuvenated a little bit

  46. poweredtoast says: Jul 6, 2011 11:32 PM

    The retired players have no place at the table; they had their time and are not owed a dime. The entitlement attitude is a pathetic sliver of the problems in our society.

  47. marinomanx13 says: Jul 6, 2011 11:34 PM

    Good God… as I’m reading some of these comments calling Brees things like “arrogant” and a “punk”, I’m physically becoming angry. I can’t stand you obnoxious blowhards that think so-and-so isn’t a good person or something like that because he said something you don’t agree with.

    That’s like me saying (and honestly meaning it) that I hate my mother because she wouldn’t let me buy the cereal I wanted when I was 7, or because she didn’t like the type of car I want to buy after college.

  48. kom2k10 says: Jul 6, 2011 11:37 PM

    On one hand, players complain that their careers are so short (only lasting 3 or 4 years). Then on the other hand they complain that they are not set up for retirement? Correct me if I’m wrong, but these guys still have an opportunity to earn a living if they stop playing football at an average age of 26 or 27!

    They get paid a large amount of money to play a game for a short period of time and also agree to some specific retirement benefits. If they can’t figure out how to make those benefits work long term, then they should be fully capable to find a new job that allows them to earn additional income, insurance, 401K or whatever they need…

  49. clayton43 says: Jul 6, 2011 11:47 PM

    Seriously ??? He is correct.. but why should the owners pay for the players mistakes on how they handle thier money… is sad and is what is wrong with this crap… Players who decided to piss their money away are now saying” what about me” … is bull shi@t and is just another reason why unions of any types in the current day are rediculous. Hey I pissed away the money I earned but now I wanrt someone else to make up for it … if only the real world worked that way… screw drew brees and the lucky ass horse he was given and all the current players… Be happy with what ya got because yourr ass is sooo extremely lucky to be in the position your in…

  50. indianheadmeatpackingcompany says: Jul 6, 2011 11:57 PM

    I missed the part where Brees said “ALL retired players…”

  51. jskill3 says: Jul 7, 2011 12:04 AM

    I’m standing on my opinion.

    If you earned $78K for 3-5 years in 1980, It would be hard to stretch that into a reasonable retirement over 30-40 0r 50 years.

    Most 20 – 30 year olds would fail at the task. (But clearly not the majority of the people weighing in on this topic.)

    Given that many of them compromised their mental functions from repeated undiagnosed concussions, and their physical abilities from injuries treated by 1980′s (or earlier) technology, they were in less than prime condition to earn their potential had they not played.

    Most of us caught the football bug from our dads – (

  52. jskill3 says: Jul 7, 2011 12:08 AM

    Most of us caught the football bug from our dads -( admit that at least) and the heros that buit the game are hurting. And there is money to at least cover their basic needs. These are facts

    Sure a few (LT comes to mind) blew it and good riddance. But most of the average guys need to benefit from what they helped build.

    thank goodness I don’t work for the majority of you guys!

  53. realitypolice says: Jul 7, 2011 12:19 AM

    When the retired players first filed this new suit a day or two ago, the comments ran 10 to 1 against them.

    Now that it comes out that they are attacking a current player, the comments are running in their favor.

    I guess PFT posters animosity towards former players is only outweighed by their animosity towards current players.

  54. southmo says: Jul 7, 2011 12:35 AM

    If the retired players don’t like it, they can always bad-mouth the current players from the broadcast booth…

    BUCK: “And Brees goes down for the second time today!”

    TROY: “He certainly did Joe. Drew really just showed what an inept quarterback with that play. He stepped right into that sack the same way he stepped right into a ridiculously underfunded pension plan in the new CBA.”

  55. endzonezombie says: Jul 7, 2011 12:38 AM

    While Brees may not be going to all the legal proceedings, it’s clear that he is very active and influential behind the scenes. It’s been very difficult to work through all the issues involved in a CBA without having more lawyers ( representing a few outspoken retirees) trying to muck up whatever delicate progress might have been made. Of course Brees ( and others) are frustrated, but I think Brees made the NFLPA’s viewpoint clear with his ENTIRE comments – not just those excerpted by this site. Current players wonder why they – and not the league – are responsible for pensions and benefits of previous employees who played decades earlier. Can anyone imagine this being an issue in any other enterprise?

  56. mjkelly77 says: Jul 7, 2011 12:39 AM

    All these compensation numbers do is to verify that the players today make far too much money. If you compare the skyrocketing rate of increase in NFL player salaries and apply it to the general population, the average office worker making $15K in 1976 would now be making $800,000 per year. Didn’t happen to the general population and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen to the NFL.

  57. iamgoodkid says: Jul 7, 2011 12:41 AM

    Saturday report: talks remain far apart on the important issues which can damage the whole season

    Sunday Report: no talks scheduled

  58. ravensfan4life52 says: Jul 7, 2011 12:55 AM

    I find it funny how you guys say Brees is right when Brees and the rest of the players are trying to make the owners give money to retired players. it’s hard to argue that the owners should give retired players money when the people arguing for that don’t think they should give any money to retired players. ironic isn’t it.

  59. realitypolice says: Jul 7, 2011 12:57 AM

    mjkelly77 says:
    Jul 7, 2011 12:39 AM
    All these compensation numbers do is to verify that the players today make far too much money. If you compare the skyrocketing rate of increase in NFL player salaries and apply it to the general population, the average office worker making $15K in 1976 would now be making $800,000 per year. Didn’t happen to the general population and it shouldn’t be allowed to happen to the NFL.
    ==========================

    What? Are you serious? Are you comparing office workers to NFL football players?

    Do you have even a basic understanding of how NFL salaries are determined? They are determined as a percentage of revenue. The reason salaries in the NFL have accelerated at the rate they have is because they mirror the growth of the league.

    “Shouldn’t be allowed to happen”? Who should stop it? The government? The police?

    This is the most ludicrous post I have ever read on PFT.

    Keanu Reeves makes $20 million per movie. Should that be “allowed” to happen?

  60. dogbart says: Jul 7, 2011 12:59 AM

    Drew is conservative politically.
    He grew up in Texas big surprise.
    The number of professional athletes that have blown all their money is staggering.
    The retired players are asking for 3% of that 9 Billion.
    1.5% from the owners 1.5% from the players cut.
    If you don’t have your calculator handy that is 270 Million or about 2 times what the cap will end up being for an entire team.
    If a player had too many concussions or has real trouble walking or sitting and surgery can’t fix it ie they are disabled then yea the NFL owes them something.
    Pay their football related injuries for life.
    They don’t however deserve a second chance to blow all their money again.
    If they can work then they should. They signed their retirement benefits now want a new deal.
    270 Million or more a year. crazy.
    I believe Drew was speaking the truth even though I disagree with his views politically.

  61. imasturbate says: Jul 7, 2011 1:05 AM

    I heard on the radio that the retired players that filed this latest lawsuit include Marcus Allen and Henry Ellard. My problem with this was that when they were working out a labor deal in the 80′s all they were worried about then was what they made while they were playing and not how big of a slice they got when they retired but now that they aren’t playing anymore they feel they are entitled to a bigger slice. Doesn’t work that way, and the current players should have it pointed out to them as well. As far as Drew Brees comments he is exactly right…if they guys squandered away all of their money and opportunities then shame on them.

  62. jskill3 says: Jul 7, 2011 1:48 AM

    mjkelly77 – you stated it very well. All I am saying is if you benefit like this from the torn up bodies of your predecessors, and you are in a position to negotiate something for them, you have a moral obligation to do so.

    gimmeabrusch- and those who gave a thumbs up – ummm, we actually had income taxes in 1980. Over 50% at $78K. And then there were some living expenses. So your financial assumptions are more than half wrong. And good luck on earning 12% annually – you did not mention which sure thing we could buy into to do that. My opinion is, therefore, that had you been given the average NFL salary for 3.5 years starting in 1980, and we had banged you over the head for those 3.5 years, you might be struggling financially today.

    But assuming your reasoning was sound: The top NFL earner in 1980 could have bought maybe 7 average houses. Drew Brees could have bought more than 40 in 2010. I’m not convinced he can relate to the retired players he is dissing, that could only afford 1/2 a house on an average salary. Especially considering his career may last 2-3 times average. The salaries have simply skyrocketed too much for him to relate. He is right that we can’t bail out every idiot that wasted what he had – but that is not the point.

    The real point is – many ex players made the decision in their 20′s to throw their bodies into something we enjoyed watching. No one fully understood the injury implications like we do today, much less these kids. Many paid with life long injuries and even mental deficiencies that impacted their earning ability in other jobs. We enjoyed watching. Now, most of us say “screw them” in one way or another without really knowing what we are talking about.

    Shame.

  63. plundergrunge says: Jul 7, 2011 1:53 AM

    Current players will eventually be retired someday. Maybe they should create a plan that provides money and benefits to retired players. And then, someday, they can relax knowing the NFL and NFLPA will still be there for them when they hang up the cleats. You wouldn’t have to worry about where any money might come from…

  64. professorhey says: Jul 7, 2011 2:03 AM

    I do think the players and owners should work to provide health care to retired players. That’s no small chunk of change, but those players of that era had limited, at best, knowledge of the real costs of their choice to play pro football. That said, anything beyond that is generosity not an obligation. Those guys got paid what the going rate was back then. It was understood most would have to work after their careers ended. It would be like saying guys working at Apple now should give some of their salary to people who worked at Atari in the 1970s or something. You don’t get paid to “pave the way.”

  65. freedomispopular says: Jul 7, 2011 2:27 AM

    When you retire at the age of <40, it should be a given that you go get another job.

  66. nps6724 says: Jul 7, 2011 2:44 AM

    It really tugs at my heart strings to see all these retired players without any money, all because the NFL kidnapped them and forced them to play a game for very little pay.

    …Wait, what? You mean they WEREN’T forced to play? They CHOSE to? Even while knowing they risk severe injury every time they step onto the field? …AND they were paid very well for the time period?

    So because someone in the future made a lot more money, they can then demand more now? And that’s okay? So every CEO from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s can go up to their successors and ask for a handout as well, correct? Even if those CEOs were grossly overpaid 30, 40, 50 years ago, the current CEOs make EVEN MORE money, so that makes it okay.

    It sucks so many of these retired players have fallen on hard times, whether it be financially, physically, or mentally. But no one forced them to choose this profession. They could’ve been truck drivers and construction workers and whatever other low-paying job they were actually qualified for and lived a healthier, poorer life. But they CHOSE a career that would most likely leave them in a lot of pain for the rest of their lives, but they’d be paid well.

    It’s ridiculous to think the current players owe the retired players anything. Every single one of these guys knew what they were getting into from the jump. Or are we to assume none of the retired guys ever suffered any type of injury from Pop Warner through the NFL and it was only in their later years they realized, “Holy crap, this game HURTS!”?

    If the retired players truly cared about those in their situation, they would’ve done something about it when THEY were playing. Oh yeah, they were too busy getting theirs. They didn’t have time to worry about those old codgers looking for handouts. All of a sudden they’re the old codgers looking for handouts, now it’s “finally” time for those no-good current players to pay up to the retired players. How convenient. They always bitch and moan about how they “paved the way for the current players”. How about the guys who paved the way for YOU? What exactly did YOU do to help them, retirees?

    The retired players are mostly a group of money-hungry hypocrites who had life handed to them on a silver platter due to talent and this country’s obsession with fame and sports and now they want just a little bit more back that they lost. Screw ‘em. Life sucks, get a helmet.

  67. pittman2052 says: Jul 7, 2011 5:25 AM

    some of you posters are either retarded or really young children who know nothing about how life works. drew brees said nothing but the truth and people get butt hurt about it. the retired players should have taken the money they made, saved what they could, and got a job afterwards to keep going in life. none if them were forced to play in the NFL.

  68. ejmat2 says: Jul 7, 2011 7:16 AM

    “And we firmly believe that the current players have no legal obligation to carve off a piece of their total compensation in order to take care of men who played the game years if not decades ago.”
    ——————————————
    Exactly! Nor do the owners have any obligation to pay the players part of their revenue (unless they feel like doing so) just because the players supposedly can’t afford good health insurance.

  69. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 7, 2011 7:17 AM

    I cannot stand Drew Brees after he pulled that stunt in the season opener last season but the dude is dead on. For the life of me I cannot understand this claim that the current players are where they are because of the retired players. Did they not work their butts off in the gym and on the field day and day out practicing? Did they not put in the time and effort to become successful in the NFL? How did the retired players have anything to do with that work?

    My company wouldn’t be where it is without the work of past employees but to think that I got to my position because of them is borderline insulting.

  70. ejmat2 says: Jul 7, 2011 7:21 AM

    pittman2052 says:
    Jul 7, 2011 5:25 AM
    some of you posters are either retarded or really young children who know nothing about how life works. drew brees said nothing but the truth and people get butt hurt about it. the retired players should have taken the money they made, saved what they could, and got a job afterwards to keep going in life. none if them were forced to play in the NFL.
    —————————————
    LOL. You’re right. None of them were forced to play in the NFL just as none of them now are forced to play in the NFL. Therefore if they don’t like the rules set forward of the NFL go get another job!

    As a matter of fact, I tend to have more empathy for the retirees. Afterall the money wasn’t as good then as it is today. Nor did they have the medical capabilities then as they do today. Let’s take it one step further. They didn’t have the same protection rules as they do today.

    Brees can say what he wants. I’m not going to say he’s wrong about it because he’s not. However, he doesn’t need to come off as arrogant as he did about it especially for the people that made the game into what it is today. Without them he doesn’t make his millions.

  71. snoop24 says: Jul 7, 2011 7:27 AM

    So everyone thinks that the retired players just wants a piece of the pie. How about better medical care and things such as that? I don’t think this is just about cutting a check. I believe a lot of it has to do with the health of these guys and the care they are able to get.

    Sure they see $$$ and want a piece, but it goes beyond that. Also let’s not pool everybody into the same group. It is no different than today. The 80-20 rule. 20% of the past players squandered their money and look for handouts. What about the 80% who have tried to take care of themselves and with the limited funds and health issues just can’t. We should always remember where we came from and never forget those guys. Those of you that can’t “live” without football are idiots for one, but should be thankful these guys gave it all on the field so you all can have your game.

    That is the biggest issue of the world today. It is hooray for me and F you.

  72. thevalsalvamanouvre says: Jul 7, 2011 7:38 AM

    [b]commandercornpone [/b]says:

    [i]i am obviously not a member of the dimrat party, and i dont care for welfare. any kind.[/i]

    Attention: No one cares about your politics. Save your vitriol and preposterous nicknames for whatever god-awful political websites you frequent.

  73. diamonddave13 says: Jul 7, 2011 8:11 AM

    Ladies & germs, the PFT Comment Board Pro-Owners/Republican Gestapo….

  74. troyusmc1 says: Jul 7, 2011 8:27 AM

    I believe that the only thing that is OWED to the former players is the security of having their medical care being assured. As a partially disabled Marine veteran, i am happy with the monthly check I get for compensation, it’s not a lot but it helps. I am more concerned about my health care, knowing that I won’t have to worry about paying large medical bills from my injuries is more important to me. Maybe the former players should look at all the men and women who served and now have problems as bad or worse than them, yet instead of bitching, we get any job we can or go to school to learn a new skill, not ask for handouts. I’m sure they can do the same, just because you’re retired from football doesn’t mean you can’t start a new career direction. Stop crying for handouts and suck it up.

  75. crouchingtahihiddendugan says: Jul 7, 2011 9:17 AM

    Drew Brees is a fruit.

  76. comeonnowguys says: Jul 7, 2011 9:33 AM

    I agree with him on this. However, I do think over the course of this lockout, Brees has arguably done more than any other person to hurt his own image. It will be interesting to see how soon people forget it.

  77. CKL says: Jul 7, 2011 9:49 AM

    I agree with those who say the NFL needs to make sure the players have access to good health insurance when they are done. Don’t think they should foot the entire bill for the cost, but a big portion of it. Reason being it will be tough for players with any medical conditions to get insurance. And whether their health issues are debilitating or not, they are a result of what these guys did for a living so it makes sense,If they do get another job that provides it, maybe they can choose. And perhaps level of coverage could be determined by years of service. I.E. no guy with under 5 years of NFL accrued time is vested unless their career ended due to injury or something
    As for pensions etc, whatever is negotiated and/or the NFL offers is fine by me. They are called “benefits” for a reason. They are extras. Not all companies offer them. As others have pointed out, almost no one’s working life is over at 35 either.

    I haven’t agreed with some of the stuff Brees has said during this process but I do agree with his sentiment on SOME…not all…but SOME of the retirees.

  78. CKL says: Jul 7, 2011 9:51 AM

    Oh and troy, thank you for your service. One of my closest friends is a Marine. They are one of a kind. :)

  79. alan226 says: Jul 7, 2011 10:27 AM

    Long term health insurance for retired players-absolutely!! Pensions where you would make more now than when you played-LAUGHABLE!!!

    Drew Brees is spot on.
    For those players that complain that they only make a couple of hundred dollars for a pension, what was the cost of living when they played? A car cost 2,000, a house could be bought for $20000. Someone retiring in say, 1975 after working for the same company for 30 years would only get a pension of a couple of hundred dollars. Hell, most people retiring get Social Security and whatever they could put away and save from their paycheck.

  80. mick730 says: Jul 7, 2011 10:34 AM

    “Many paid with life long injuries and even mental deficiencies that impacted their earning ability in other jobs. ”

    Many? Really? Name me five. You’re stating that because somebody had a 3 to 5 year stint in the NFL back in the 1980′s, the current players owe them because the guys in the 80′s couldn’t parlay an average salary of 87k into a secure retirement? Is that right?

    Well, for starters, why would anybody think that working three to five years in your 20′s, at any profession, would allow you to retire comfortably at any age?

    Second, you’re also stating that many players from the 80s were so physically damaged, or mentally damaged, that their earning capabilities were impaired? I say BS. Again, name me five.

    More likely than not, a lot of NFL players, had no skills to offer the market after they quit playing football. Many of them do not take advantage of a free ride in college and either do not get a degree or get one that is next to worthless.

    BTW, I think that since my Grandpa bought season tickets to the Packers games back in 1940,
    he therefore was part of providing the funds that allowed the NFL to grow into what it is today. Therefore, using your logic, I think the NFL and the NFLPA should pay the health insurance premiums for life for all current and former season ticket holders.

    After all, I think the NFL and the NFLPA should ‘seek us all out, understand our needs, and protect us financially’, since after all, we, the past and current season ticket holders, are what really built the NFL into what it is today. Right?

    I’m sorry dude, but somebody has really screwed up your ability to think straight.

  81. the4cannon's says: Jul 7, 2011 10:36 AM

    yeah dude, they do all like fried chicken and watermelon

  82. deadmanwalking47 says: Jul 7, 2011 11:09 AM

    whatever happened to respect for your elders?

  83. 1historian says: Jul 7, 2011 11:56 AM

    I agree in principle with what Brees said, but he should NOT have said it. What an idiot!

    And this coming out the day after john Mackey, all time tight end died and he had dementia for years before his death probably in large part due to the game.

  84. thegeorgecostanza says: Jul 7, 2011 12:46 PM

    I am a die hard Bucs fan and a Canadian quite in tune all my life with your great American game. I lost respect for Brees after some post game comments he made on Monday Night Football last season after the Saints defeated the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. He basically said to Suzy Kobler following the game on live TV “well hopefully the Panthers can do us a favour next week and defeat the Falcons for us” as if to say they had already defeated the Bucs without even playing them.And that they would finish first in the NFC south. That was good cause my Bucs went in to New Orleans and defeated them at the Super dome setting up the Saints coming up to Seattle for the upset! Karma. Drew really disrespected former players here and should have kept the comments to himself. Way back then player salaries were equal to Canadian Football League salaries up till the early eighties! Not the millions players make today. The former players made the game what it is today playing for peanuts and yes they deserve better care and attention in my opinion! Drew should have kept his mouth shut in stating former players didn;t want to go out and get a job following football!

  85. thegeorgecostanza says: Jul 7, 2011 12:54 PM

    And remember too as well he almost had a career ending injury prior to the Saints taking their chances with him! So he really shouldn’t be beaking off about this issue!

  86. pittman2052 says: Jul 7, 2011 1:26 PM

    Should current military members pay for the past generations military members because they were paid less? It has not and should never happen. NFL players of old were still paid more than the general public. Why do they need more money?

  87. lance19 says: Jul 7, 2011 1:41 PM

    I generally think Drew is a good guy,
    and he clearly said “SOME guys…”

    however, I think it would’ve been WISE

    –since you’re talking about legends who built
    the NFL into the millionaire-maker it now is–

    to really STRESS that you aren’t accusing all,
    (or even most) former players of being
    irresponsible…just “some.”

  88. nps6724 says: Jul 7, 2011 2:13 PM

    thegeorgecostanza says: Jul 7, 2011 12:46 PM

    I am a die hard Bucs fan and a Canadian quite in tune all my life with your great American game. I lost respect for Brees after some post game comments he made on Monday Night Football last season after the Saints defeated the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. He basically said to Suzy Kobler following the game on live TV “well hopefully the Panthers can do us a favour next week and defeat the Falcons for us” as if to say they had already defeated the Bucs without even playing them.And that they would finish first in the NFC south. That was good cause my Bucs went in to New Orleans and defeated them at the Super dome setting up the Saints coming up to Seattle for the upset! Karma.

    ———————————-

    If you had any common sense, you’d realize A) the ONLY chance the Saints had to win the NFC South was for Carolina to beat Atlanta first and foremost, B) the Bucs beating the Saints had nothing to do with the Saints going to Seattle since Atlanta was crushing Carolina, and C) you have zero clue what karma is.

  89. diablito0402 says: Jul 7, 2011 2:39 PM

    I think brees should of kept his mouth shut on this issue, he didnt come out looking as innocent as we thought he was.

  90. jskill3 says: Jul 7, 2011 10:46 PM

    In response to being challenged to “name 5″ retired players with serious physical or mental deficiencies:
    George Visger, Larry Morris, John Mackey, Mike Webster, Terry long, Andre Waters, Earl Campbell, Joe Jacoby, Chris Johnson, Dave Duerson, Harry Carson, Woody Woodrow Greene, Curt Marsh, Brent Boyd – There are hundreds literally on disability….

    Google it. Learn about retired NFL payers and injuries. I say these guys and their contemporaries had no idea how much long term damage was being done – because nobody realized it. We are only beginning to know now. You folks comparing this to your office jobs or building a company based on some insignificant ticket purchase are way, way off base.

    And yes, I expect that it is not too much to ask that the current players have the retired player’s back 100% in the current negotiations as they wrestle over the billions and billions with the owners.

    And, I think the current players, especially the ones that make enough to buy a handful of mansions every year, should be sure they are in touch with the retired guys before they diss the ones that screwed up – and hurt the ranks of the good ones.

    Frankly, If I had $10 million a year, I don’t think I would feel the financial cost of finding a few retired offensive linemen that really need help, are good guys, and give them the help they need. And I still think that is good advice for Drew.

  91. gimmeabruschi says: Jul 7, 2011 11:02 PM

    @ jskill3

    we actually had income taxes in 1980. Over 50% at $78K. And then there were some living expenses. So your financial assumptions are more than half wrong. And good luck on earning 12% annually – you did not mention which sure thing we could buy into to do that. My opinion is, therefore, that had you been given the average NFL salary for 3.5 years starting in 1980, and we had banged you over the head for those 3.5 years, you might be struggling financially today.

    _______________________________

    The point is nobody forced them to play the game.

    Should some silent film star come busting in and demand money from today’s multimillionaire actors?

    The stock market alone is ten times greater than in 1980 and with any kind of decent money management you could see money from that time be 20 times greater.

    In 30 years we will be hearing from some players of today crying poverty despite the big money they make now.

    I think maybe you should ponder just how bad off some of these fellows would be if they didn’t play pro ball, make a pretty damned good stack of money in the process and had to scramble like the rest of us to put food on the table.

  92. thegeorgecostanza says: Jul 8, 2011 12:28 AM

    @nps6274 well excuse me for the error! Bottom line Brees did disrespect my team(the bucs) with a remark stating ‘well hopefully Carolina can do us a favour next week and beat atlanta for us. As if to say the Saints had already defeated the Bucs! Maybe you are a Saints fan I am assuming? The karma being going up here in the northwest and losing to Seattle when the saints should have schooled them on that day! Remember too Brees almost had a career ending injury to boot as well and players in the past made squat compared to the millions players get today! Maybe Brees is ARROGANT!

  93. nps6724 says: Jul 8, 2011 8:49 AM

    thegeorgecostanza says: Jul 8, 2011 12:28 AM

    @nps6274 well excuse me for the error! Bottom line Brees did disrespect my team(the bucs) with a remark stating ‘well hopefully Carolina can do us a favour next week and beat atlanta for us. As if to say the Saints had already defeated the Bucs! Maybe you are a Saints fan I am assuming? The karma being going up here in the northwest and losing to Seattle when the saints should have schooled them on that day! Remember too Brees almost had a career ending injury to boot as well and players in the past made squat compared to the millions players get today! Maybe Brees is ARROGANT!

    ——————————————-

    If you’re going to lose respect for someone, you probably should know what the heck you’re talking about. Really, you’re being way too butthurt over an innocuous comment. The only possible way for the Saints to win the NFC South was for Carolina to win first. The Saints could’ve beaten the Bucs 234-0 and it wouldn’t matter if Carolina loses. Not to mention this was a POSTGAME comment. Not exactly where you’re going to have a soliloquy prepared to discuss anything and everything about your team and their opponents. How about we don’t treat molehills like mountains, hmm?

    Calling that Seattle loss “karma” is disrespecting the Seahawks more than Brees (supposedly) disrespected the Bucs. Maybe you should listen to your own words a little more carefully.

  94. jskill3 says: Jul 8, 2011 1:18 PM

    “Should some silent film star come busting in and demand money from today’s multimillionaire actors?”

    No. Pointing a camera at them didn’t permanently injured more than 50% of them with long term effects that were not understood, which impaired their earning ability in their next profession.

    Again, IMHO, Current players should have the backs of former players in the negotiations. So should the owners, by the way. And for DAMN sure -so should “fans” of these former players. So I continue to make their case.

    Proud to disagree because of the amount of research I have done. There a plenty of stupid stories of idiots squandering thier fortunes. Screw those idiots, I agree. But I seem to be able to find more (quiet & boring) stories about ex NFL players struggling quietly with problems no one anticipated, which no one could have addressed when they negotiated their deals. Because of their sacrifices the sport has become wildly popular & therefore wildly lucrative. Because it cost them more than they, or anyone else realized, everyone who loves or benefits from the sport ought to have their backs.

    Again, all of this is just my opinion.

    As Mike Ditka once said about this issue ” Don’t make proud men beg.”

    I’m done on this post with no change to my opinion – God, please let the lockout end.

  95. bunkmcnulty says: Jul 8, 2011 4:19 PM

    Mick730…what a fool!

    Many industries in this country, years later discover the dangers of what they exposed their employees to. Ever hear of asbestos or coal mining? And yes, there are inherant dangers in these professions…how about dangers that escalate your ability to enjoy life or make your life shortened? Of course, most of these companies only ponied up after being sued.

    No one should bail a player out, past or present, for bad financial decisions. But to the extent the game takes away from their life, or ability to enjoy it, there likely is some debt owed these former players.

    I guess it is much simpler to allow these players with extraordinary health care issues and no financial ability to support them to eventually go on Medicaid or Medicare, and let taxpayers pay for their care. Much smarter to have taxpayers bail out the millionaires and billionaires of today that play football or own football teams.

    Again, what a fool.

  96. solidosnaku says: Jul 14, 2011 10:05 AM

    In response to the poor speller at the top of the comments list, vbe2, Bree’s did not make a generalization about ALL retired players. In fact he’s quoted as saying “There’s SOME guys out there…” and i absolutely agree with him. Whether it’s football or banking or the stupid DMV, it is not the responsibility of current workers to pay retirees money they don’t deserve; and I think the important word to focus on is “deserves”. Isn’t that the whole point of the meetings?? To decide what exactly is “deserved”. The bottom line in the end though is that all of them; past players, present, coaches and owners make WAY too much money to be squabbling over petty differences and causing even 1 day of lock outs. But money does strange things to people.

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