Asked to elaborate on those comments today, Brees refused. And he suggested that the media made his comments a bigger deal than he intended.
“I’m not going to comment further on it,” Brees said. “If there’s any dialogue that would need to take place, I would talk to the commissioner directly. By no means was that meant to be disrespectful. I was asked a direct question about how the players felt and I gave a very honest and direct answer. I think it was blown out of proportion a little bit when the headlines say I was blasting the commissioner. No, that wasn’t the case. That was really all I said and I really have nothing else to say about it.”
Brees may say he wasn’t blasting the commissioner, but reading the comments, it sure seems like he was blasting the commissioner. Brees called Goodell’s suspension of Saints coach Sean Payton “completely ridiculous.” Brees said “Nobody trusts him” and then repeated that for emphasis. And Brees said that when Goodell brings players in to talk about disciplinary matters, Goodell makes up his mind in advance and “the interview is just a façade.”
If that’s not blasting the commissioner, what is?
Granted, Brees didn’t rip into Goodell with the tenacity of James Harrison, but that’s because Brees is a more even-tempered man than Harrison, not because the substance of the criticism — that Goodell has too much power and exercises it without enough discretion — was much different. And it’s exactly because Brees is such an even-tempered man, and because he’s one of the best and most respected players in the NFL, that so many people took notice when Brees said no one trusts Goodell.
Brees’ comments weren’t blown out of proportion. They were an important statement reflecting how a lot of players feel right now about Roger Goodell.