We’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a great quarterback, and a truly good guy. But we can’t look the other way in the wake of reports that Brees, or someone on his behalf, is trying to leverage his status as a named plaintiff in the Brady antitrust action into a lifetime exemption from the franchise tag, which would make Brees an unrestricted free agent in 2012.
If it’s happening, it’s wrong. And Brees and any other named plaintiff who is trying to exploit the situation for personal gain should abandon those efforts.
We first heard three weeks ago that NFLPA* lawyer Jeffrey Kessler and CAA, the agency representing Brees, were pushing for this benefit, both for Brees and fellow CAA client Peyton Manning. Now that Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe and others, including Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com, are reporting the same thing on the same day that lawyers are supposed to be finalizing the deal, the issue has gotten much greater notice, drawing widespread criticism of Brees Manning, Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, and Patriots guard Logan Mankins.
Brees has responded to the controversy, via Twitter: “I hesitate to even dignify the false media reports with a response, but obviously they are leading people astray.”
We’re not sure what’s specifically “false” about the reports. Chris Mortensen of ESPN, citing an unnamed high-ranking NFLPA* official, wrote earlier today that “media reports of a last-minute power play by players are misleading and erroneous.”
So what’s misleading, false, and/or erroneous? The reports that Brees and Manning want a “Get Out Of Franchise Tag Jail Free” card? Or the reports that the request is coming in the form of a “last-minute power play,” as opposed to an issue that Kessler has been pushing for weeks?
Brees could easily clear this up with a much more pointed tweet. For example, all Brees needs to say is this: “I want no special treatment. This was never about me. This is about all players, past, present, and future.”
Until he does, we’re not prepared to conclude that Bedard and/or Freeman are inept and/or lying.
UPDATE: After we posted this item. Brees returned to Twitter. “I want no special perks,” he said. “My job is to get a fair deal for all players, and I am proud to represent them all – past, present and future.” Is there an echo in here?