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Are Brees and Fujita facing retaliation for their roles in CBA process?

8991124-large AP

The two biggest stories of the offseason could have a common thread slightly thicker than the fact that both involve the Saints.

While there’s no obvious link between the bounty suspensions and the fact that quarterback Drew Brees still doesn’t have a contract, there’s a belief that Brees and former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita are experiencing retaliation for their roles in last year’s CBA talks.

As to Brees, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports that the NFLPA recently has asked Commissioner Roger Goodell to explore whether the Saints are acting in good faith with respect to the Brees contract talks.  Per La Canfora, some within the union believe Brees’ efforts last year in connection with the labor deal “might be held against him.”  The union reportedly will file unfair labor practice charges, if the NFL does not investigate the situation.

As to Fujita, Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com speculates that the NFL’s inclusion of the Browns linebacker within the quartet of suspended players may reflect payback for Fujita’s “outspoken” efforts in 2011, which included expressing concern about an 18-game regular season.  “Fujita also questioned the league’s laxity in linking concussion injuries to long-term health effects,” Grossi writes.  “In union meetings at which Goodell was present, Fujita was known for putting Goodell on spot with direct questions and refutations.”

It would be tough to prove bias based on their roles in the CBA talks, absent a smoking-gun admission from a league or team executive.  But merely pushing the issue could give the players an extra bit of leverage.

La Canfora reports that the NFLPA also is “closely monitoring” the lack of negotiations with the Saints draft picks, a contention that seems ludicrous on its face.  For starters, the Saints have a small class, with no first-round or second-round pick.  Also, in past years few draft picks had been signed at this point in the offseason, and no one ever said “boo” about it.  If the Saints rookies didn’t like the fact that the team wasn’t negotiating with them, the Saints rookies should have boycotted the offseason program.

Besides, why would the Saints gratuitously alienate their newest players?

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this specific situation comes from the lengths to which the NFLPA seems to be going to insulate Brees from any blame.

“The NFLPA opted to pursue this matter with Goodell on its own, and was not probed by Brees,” La Canfora said.  “The quarterback did not play a role in the decision, sources said, with the union moving forward of its own accord.  NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith would not discuss the specifics of the matter but said the union was acting as it would to protect any member and that Brees did not have a say in any of the actions the union might take.”

Baloney, we say.

For starters, a union typically doesn’t push an issue that the affected player doesn’t want to push.  When it comes to Brees, who remains a member of the NFLPA’s Executive Committee, there’s no way union leadership would take action against his wishes, since he is part of union leadership.

So, yes, Brees looks to be behind this one.  And that’s fine; if he’s a victim of retaliation for his role in the labor talks, he has every right to seek relief.

But he also should be willing to acknowledge it.

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45 Responses to “Are Brees and Fujita facing retaliation for their roles in CBA process?”
  1. omnipotentcrab says: Jun 27, 2012 5:59 PM

    At this point the union is just litigating to litigate. Whether it’s true or not they have pretty specious claims as if the NFL is discriminating they aren’t stupid enough to admit it and/or leave a memo about it. Second of all it’s in the Saints best interests not to piss off their entire draft class + their franchise player. The reason the Brees deal isn’t done is because of the franchise tag issue.

  2. skinsassembled says: Jun 27, 2012 6:01 PM

    Brees is completely full of it. You don’t need any more proof than his last 10 interviews. He speaks without thinking and makes claims without facts.

  3. thebarkexpress says: Jun 27, 2012 6:04 PM

    “In union meetings at which Goodell was present, Fujita was known for putting Goodell on spot with direct questions and refutations.”

    Perhaps ” A Pay To Ask Tough Questions To The Commisioner” is in order.

  4. billinlouisiana says: Jun 27, 2012 6:06 PM

    Another sign that the NFLPA is doing anything it can think of to get out of the CBA they agreed to and now realize they got taken to the cleaners last year.

  5. macbull says: Jun 27, 2012 6:06 PM

    Are Brees and Fujita facing retaliation for their roles in CBA process?
    ……………………………………………………………………

    Roger Godell wouldn’t do that…would he?

  6. dlc618 says: Jun 27, 2012 6:07 PM

    If the Saints were smart, they would start over…get rid of everyone who was involved. Thank them for their service, the Superbowl and all they’ve accomplished then walk them to their car….watch them drive away and immediately change the locks on the doors and never think about it again.

    Next!

  7. whodatgirl1 says: Jun 27, 2012 6:13 PM

    I think the Brees thing is hogwash.

    Conversely, I see some weight in the Fajita argument. Ginger was pushing so hard to get an 18-game season and Fajita said it is against player safety (and I see that argument).

    Ginger said Fajita was a part of this bounty scheme and has yet to deliver the evidence of such. He can’t even do research as to when Fajita was a Saint.

  8. joemcrugby says: Jun 27, 2012 6:14 PM

    I’m pretty sure that Brees’ response to this would be:

    “I had no ‘real knowledge’ that the NFLPA would pursue this matter.”

  9. hawkforlife says: Jun 27, 2012 6:19 PM

    Enough already. I can’t believe the NFLPA. What a circus it must be in their meetings. Thank God they don’t represent actual union workers as not one single union worker would be left in this country.

    Some of you might be OK with that but for all their faults they’ve done a lot of good. This group of clowns couldn’t represent grade school teachers and come off sympathetically.

  10. yssupasigninnamnotyep says: Jun 27, 2012 6:26 PM

    “Are Brees and Fujita facing retaliation for their roles in CBA process?”

    I certainly hope so.

  11. ascensionparish says: Jun 27, 2012 6:27 PM

    Anyone who’s paying attention knows that Brees would not be signed before his grievance hearing regarding the wording in the CBA about franchise tags. He WILL be signed sometime between tomorrow and July 16th. That’s just the reality.

    And because of the rookie wage scale, I expect all Saints draftees to be signed within a week of each other, possibly in the same week that Brees is signed.

    At that point, all of this non-sense is obsolete.

  12. FinFan68 says: Jun 27, 2012 6:32 PM

    The thought that Benson is sticking it to Brees because of the lockout stuff is absurd. Maybe the fact that they were waiting on a ruling concerning the tag–and the fact that Loomis can’t be involved (or at least has other issues to deal with)–may have just a tad to do with Brees’ contract not being done. Why blame the team only? Brees is just as much responsible for not being signed as the Saints are.

    As for the Fujita issue, it is more possible than the Brees claim but it is not very likely. Fujita was one of the defensive leaders of the Saints during the time-frame of the investigation. He admitted to doing something wrong but has an issue with how his actions have been characterized by the league. The fact that he has admitted wrongdoing should void the union argument. If he was being blackballed he could have gotten a much stiffer penalty since there is no standardized suspension mandate for stuff like this.

  13. sdisme says: Jun 27, 2012 6:37 PM

    So offering Brees a 5 year contract at 18.5 or 19 million is not negotiating in good faith?

    As for Fujita, maybe I would agree that maybe he got under Roger’s skin, when Roger visited the Browns during his (tour camp visits) prior to the lockout. When Roger was trying to end the meeting and Fujita cleared way for it to continue.

  14. thejuddstir says: Jun 27, 2012 6:49 PM

    T.O. is being extorted, Drew is being dissed, RG3 is being extorted, Roger Goodell is being god, the NFLPA is being stupid, Ocho Cinco is being Chad Johnson, Tony Romo is being picked on, Jerrah is being…..Jerrah, and Vince Lombardi cries out from his grave “what the hell is going on here”.

  15. smacklayer says: Jun 27, 2012 7:27 PM

    FML – more law suits by the NFLPA?? I suppose that’s what you get when you decide to have a litigating attorney run your union. I really miss the days of Upshaw and Tagliabu.

  16. jamiebuf12 says: Jun 27, 2012 7:27 PM

    soooo tired of drew brees.he is one of the guys thats sues the league during the lockout and dosn’t even show up for court………the saints have the right to franchise him and they did.he gets paid ,what top 5 qb money and he is “upset”???

    drew brees is a tool.when you want more than 20 million a year it has to be crazy scary as a team,no matter how good the player is…..brees could take one nasty hit and the saints would be paying him crazy money not to play………

  17. jimr10 says: Jun 27, 2012 7:33 PM

    billinlouisiana says:
    Jun 27, 2012 6:06 PM
    Another sign that the NFLPA is doing anything it can think of to get out of the CBA they agreed to and now realize they got taken to the cleaners last year
    I agree 100%…. they are not going to let it go until there is no restricted free agency and draft.. that was their goal last year and it remains that way today..

  18. acetw says: Jun 27, 2012 7:35 PM

    If either faces any retaliation at all, it will come from the league. Since the league went out of their way to threaten the coaches into silence I see no reason they won’t follow the same path with the players.
    The nfl is as corrupt a corporation as exists today, there is nothing I wouldn’t put past them.

  19. jason1980 says: Jun 27, 2012 7:38 PM

    And we Saints fans are so tired of the same posters posting on every single Saints article. We know that you guys are envious of the powerhouse Saints, but C’mon man!! How does that happen, the same folks posting article after article as if Saints fans care what you think. The Saints will do their talking on the field, in spite of anything that Roger Goddell or the league office does. See ya during the regular season haters.

  20. corvusrex96 says: Jun 27, 2012 7:44 PM

    It’s not like the Saints haven’t offered Brees a fair deal. Could he get a bit more ? perhaps but he could sign the 5 yr @ $19 million/yr and this whole thing would be over.

    What the Saints are not doing , rightly in my opinion, is allowing Drew Brees to leverage the team’s scandal (Payton, Loomis, Vilma, et al) to his advantage.

    Why overpay him b/c other people are in trouble ?

  21. jakek2 says: Jun 27, 2012 7:49 PM

    I can’t wait until some NFL employee comes out of the woodwork and says, “I heard Goodell say that he is going to take all of his labor deal frustrations out on the Saints once this deal is done”. Punitive damages baby. Get rid of this no good, game ruining dictator once and for all!

  22. mneal69 says: Jun 27, 2012 7:54 PM

    God am I tired about hearing about Brees…He should change his name to Massengill because this guy is a giant douche.

  23. conormacleod says: Jun 27, 2012 8:15 PM

    The Saints are retaliating against Brees by NOT automatically giving him the highest contract in the history of the NFL?! Ok then…

  24. goodolebaghead says: Jun 27, 2012 8:26 PM

    If you are dissing on Brees, you don’t pay attention to him. The dude is literally a Saint. Why does he want more money? Probably because he can think of a billion charities that can use the money more than Tom Benson.

    You’re also forgetting that he was franchised by SD, hurt, and kicked to the curb just like that with his entire future up in the air. He got picked up by NOLA and spent the last 6 years working his butt off to be the phenomenal QB he is.

    It only makes sense that he wants to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

    Also, the argument over his contract has nothing to do with total, it has to do with front-end or back-end. He wants his money now just-in-case, NOLA wants it later just-in-case.

  25. dj121191 says: Jun 27, 2012 8:32 PM

    Dear Drew,
    if someone offers you $18+million a year to do something you love, take it with a big smile on your face
    Sincerely, every hard working person in america

  26. senky3 says: Jun 27, 2012 8:45 PM

    jakek2: and i can’t wait until the courts get involved and all the real evidence comes out. then the truth about the felons giving money, coaches teaching dirty hits, and the lying BY the saints come out and the penalties are alot worse than they are now.

  27. fooath says: Jun 27, 2012 8:47 PM

    And there we go.

    All the way to “conspiracy”.

    They have nothing left with a basis in reality.

  28. bigbluefan1 says: Jun 27, 2012 9:32 PM

    The NFL was a much better place when teams like the Lions and the Saints were seen and not heard.

    The Saints win one Super Bowl and they are gods gift.

    They got in the playoffs last year and a team that had Alex Smith as a QB spanked them
    Get over it you had your moment now shut up and go back to being a town that is known for lewd and drunk behavior.

    And yes I have been there and once was more then enough.

  29. jackericsson says: Jun 27, 2012 9:54 PM

    I do enjoy watching Brees on the field. Off the field I can’t stand him. He’s coming across as a spoiled LITTLE brat!

  30. mjkelly77 says: Jun 27, 2012 9:59 PM

    While there’s no obvious link between the bounty suspensions and the fact that quarterback Drew Brees still doesn’t have a contract, there’s a belief that Brees and former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita are experiencing retaliation for their roles in last year’s CBA talks.
    ______________________

    While there’s no obvious link between the bounty suspensions and the role of Drew Brees in last year’s CBA talks, there’s a belief that Brees is experiencing retaliation because he still doesn’t have a contract.

    Makes about the same amount of sense.

  31. mtrhead269 says: Jun 27, 2012 10:06 PM

    If Brees doesn’t like the contract the Saints are offering. He could always retire and open a public relations firm

  32. stew48 says: Jun 27, 2012 10:08 PM

    In answer to the question created by your headline, a couple of obvious possibilities:

    1. Is NYC big?
    2. Do birds fly?
    3. Was Jerry Rice a good receiver?

    etc., etc., etc. ad nauseum.

  33. fakefranknunley57 says: Jun 27, 2012 10:14 PM

    yes

  34. stanklepoot says: Jun 27, 2012 10:16 PM

    Why would they be? The owners have no reason to want revenge. They kicked the stuffing out of the players in the CBA negotiations. Fujita is being punished along with others for his alleged role in a bounty program. So, unless you believe that Payton, Williams, Vitt, Hargrove, Smith, and Vilma are all being punished as cover for the league going after Fujita, I think it’s safe to say the CBA negotiations really don’t have much to do with this. As for Brees, this is just another case of a team trying to “convince” a player to give them a bit of a home town discount. It’s simple really. The Saints believe that Brees is such a team player, and so concerned about how he is perceived by others, that he’ll back down in the end and either agree to an offer lower than he feels he deserves or play on the franchise tag. It’s not really all that original as far as stories go. It’s just that everything that’s going on with the Saints franchise makes it seem like it would be better for them to simply pay full price for Brees so that they can put their fans and players at ease…or as at ease as they can be under the circumstances.

  35. stanklepoot says: Jun 27, 2012 10:35 PM

    I think most of this retaliation idea depends on a kind of Roger Goodell that doesn’t really exist in my opinion. My take on the guy is that if you’re an obstacle to his goals (like the CBA) or an embarrassment to the league, then he won’t hesitate to absolutely destroy you. Afterwards, however, I don’t think he’s the kind of guy that’s going to hold a major grudge…especially not a big enough one to do what’s being alleged here. Why do I think that? Past history. Vick lied to his face and gave the league a huge black eye. Once he came clean and showed remorse, however, he was given a second chance. How many chances has Adam Jones been given? The list goes on and on with the same results. Goodell brings down the hammer, but then gives them an opportunity to redeem themselves. So no, a retaliation of this sort just doesn’t seem to fit with Goodell’s history. Now, if it were something ordered by ownership (and he simply couldn’t convince them to alter their plans), then I could maybe believe it. For all the talk of him acting like GODell, the truth is he’s been a rather loyal vassal of ownership.

  36. ronry says: Jun 27, 2012 10:49 PM

    I have wondered for awhile about Fujita, but for a different reason. He’s on the executive board of the NFLPA and fighting for players rights which include their safety. If he was involved in the bounty system that was looking to ‘cart off’ opposing players, wouldn’t his position in the union actually make him the worst offender? If he can be an outspoken leader with the NFL on player safety, he should have been a leader in the Saints locker room.

  37. drgreenstreak says: Jun 27, 2012 11:21 PM

    “Fujita also questioned the league’s laxity in linking concussion injuries to long-term health effects,”

    While Brees may be taking hits from all sides, Fujita is a straight-up, two-faced, lying, deceiving piece of excrement.

  38. bigball1 says: Jun 27, 2012 11:28 PM

    Could Roger Goodell hear a rumor that Tom Brady put a thousand dollars in a Super Bowl parties pool and see a note pad with his name next to $1,000 suspend him for a year, even though it is not true? YES he can do that. Without ever having to prove the fact or to reveal where he heard the story. This has to stop! The idea that the NFLPA did not fore see the abuse of power that the commissioner was going to use when he was allowed to retain the authority in the CBA and this fiasco is what we are dealing with is truly unbelievable.
    That the “Due Process” which is part of the fabric of what we believe in was totally disregarded in these bounty suspensions is shameful. That Goodell has the authority to do this is terrible, that he did do it, is embarrassing. To charge and dispense penalty without letting these players see any evidence and defend themselves, to show what little evidence they did at the very last possible moment allowable by the CBA is a joke. Unfortunately this is not a game and it is not funny.
    Shame on Roger Goodell and all in his circle….

  39. thcnote says: Jun 27, 2012 11:56 PM

    jason1980 says:
    Jun 27, 2012 7:38 PM
    And we Saints fans are so tired of the same posters posting on every single Saints article. We know that you guys are envious of the powerhouse Saints, but C’mon man!!
    ———-
    Are you referring to the powerhouse Saints that got beat by the Rams. The Rams. Bahahahahaha!

  40. j0esixpack says: Jun 28, 2012 12:14 AM

    It’s retailiation – but just for embarrassing Goodell with Bountygate.

    Goodell’s MO is to over-react – react like it’s the crime of the century and he’s never been aware of it.

    He acted in a similar fashion when the Patriots placed their signal taping cameras in the location authorized in 2006, but no longer authorized in 2007 (the stands.)

    Kraft and Belichick agreed to “take one” for the NFL so Goodell and the league would look tough and clean.

    Brees and Fujita aren’t willing to let themselves be used like that.

  41. jason1980 says: Jun 28, 2012 12:49 AM

    @thcnote…..I’m talking about the powerhouse Saints that turn the ball over 6 times, and the SF 49’ers barely won in the last few seconds of the playoff game. You’re not fooling anybody by disputing the prowess of the Saints. Regarding the Rams, you talking about the Rams???? It’s the NFL, any given Sunday. Get over it pal, the Saints are scary, and judging from the interest we get from you boys, we can see your knees a shakin’ Who Dat!!

  42. whodatgirl1 says: Jun 28, 2012 2:26 AM

    Dude, it didn’t matter who played the Rams that week, they were going to loose. Remember that the Cardinals had just won the world series and there was a lot of pride in the city.

  43. exboomer says: Jun 28, 2012 8:22 AM

    They should change the name of the NFL to the NFLL, National Football Legal League since it seems some players are more interested in suing the league for every percieved offense than actually playing in it.

  44. feomax says: Jun 28, 2012 8:44 AM

    NFLPA(GUN)…NFL..(Golden Goose)..= X ‘s for goose ‘s Eyes…(or dead duck ..callit what you will.) same thing

  45. bigball1 says: Jun 28, 2012 11:48 AM

    It is interesting to see some of these post where the author speaks so boldly regarding the guilt of the suspended players. Evidence of a pay for performance…yes. Pay for injury….no! The coaches were penalized because the club can not run a PFP program and they likely went to efforts to cover the fact that it existed. There is nothing in the CBA that precludes the players to have PFP between themselves. It has existed for years. For the players that have stated that they never contributed to a “pool” they are not in violation of any rule….And to dispense penalty without clear evidence is not how the NFL or anything else should be done.
    There should not be one person out there that would not protest what Goodell has done if it was done to them….The anger and outrage of being accused of something you know you did not do is pretty hard to “just accept”.

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