Drew Brees on Bountygate: “Guilty until proven innocent.”

June 26, 2012 – 11:15 am by Chris Fedor

After falling short of getting to the NFC Championship game last year, Drew Brees and the Saints should be focusing on how they can get back to the top of the NFC this upcoming season. That’s what most teams and players do but the Saints and Brees haven’t had that luxury this offseason. Whether it has been dealing with the bounty scandal that has led to numerous suspensions within the organization or an ongoing contract dispute, this offseason has been anything but normal for one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.

Drew Brees joined WFAN in New York with Boomer and Carton to talk about whether he has thought about not wearing a Saints uniform eventually, whether losing in the playoffs or this offseason has been tougher on him, if he thinks the NFL has been fair when it comes to the Saints bounty scandal, whether he and the Saints are closer to a new contract and if he would prevent his sons from playing football because of how dangerous the game is.

Whether he has thought about not wearing a Saints uniform eventually:

“No. Never. I love the city of New Orleans, both my wife and I do, we’ve had our two boys born in New Orleans, my wife is pregnant with our third and he’s going to be born in New Orleans. We’ve made a home there, we love the people, our foundation is deeply entrenched there and we’re hoping to raise 11 million dollars by the end of the year to that community so I’ve been able to do a lot of great things and things we are proud of. Football is just part of it.”

Whether losing in the playoffs or this offseason has been tougher on him:

“You always feel like you have the ability to control the game, especially at the quarterback position even if you’re not on the field because you’re thinking about the next opportunity or the next drive or the next series or what have you. This offseason has been so unlike any other especially with the whole bounty situation. I think that’s taking up the majority of all our time just because I feel like our character and our integrity has been attacked especially given what we have been able to accomplish over the last two years. We have won more games over the last two years than any organization or any other team. We’re proud of what we accomplished, we feel like we have done things the right way and we feel like we have the right type of people, we’ve built a great culture, we have a great environment in the Saints organization and to then be personally attacked and accused of some heinous things with this strategic media campaign the NFL has delivered the last couple of months regarding the bounty scandal and the supposed paid injury scheme that’s disheartening, especially when I don’t feel like there has been any real evidence that’s come out that would prove that money was changing hands to incentivize guys to go out and hurt someone intentionally or end someone’s career early.”

Whether he thinks the investigation of into the Saints bounty scandal was conducted fairly:

“I certainly don’t feel the investigation was fair or that it was due process or that it was the attitude or it was innocent until proven guilty. In fact I feel like it was quite the opposite. Guilty until proven innocent. We’re going to hand out punishments prior to even talking to the players and we’re going to do this investigation to lead us to a desired conclusion that we have already established in our minds as opposed to just gathering the facts or making sure it’s real evidence or it’s real facts. It’s not just a tape or an audio that has a bunch of tough talk on it or that it’s a ledger that doesn’t have any names on it and when you try to figure out what game it was you guess wrong the first two times you say it was a certain game, it’s just misstep after misstep with their evidence and none of it I feel like is valid and none of it proves that there was money changing hands in a paid injury scheme that involved the guys accused. We’re talking about guy’s careers and reputations and livelihood and good guys too. Guys like Scott Fujita who has always handled himself like a true professional and has been an avid supporter for player health and safety and was instrumental in getting a lot of the benefits we were able to gain in last year’s CBA in regard to player health and safety and now he is having his character attacked.”

How close he and the Saints are to getting a new contract done:

“I think we’re closer today than we were a month ago. Obviously there is still a lot to be done and a lot to be worked through. I’m still confident we can get a long term deal done and hopefully that happens sooner than later.”

If he would prevent his boys from playing football because of the injury risks involved:

“At this point no I wouldn’t but I wouldn’t put them out there tomorrow. They’re age three and 20 months right now and I have one more on the way. I’m going to encourage my kids to play all sports and as many sports as possible. That’s what I did when I was a kid. Are there risks associated with every sport that you play? Yes. Are there more risks associated with contact sports like Hockey, Lacrosse, Football? Yes there are. I think the big thing is just understanding what those risks are and then as it pertains to concussions and head injuries specifically but understand exactly when the appropriate time is for kids to be playing football. It might not be until age 13, it might not be until middle school or high school. I didn’t play tackle football until I was a freshman in high school. I played flag football in seventh and eighth grade. There’s plenty of those types of programs around and seven on sevens and everything else. Just think there’s so much research that is still ongoing. We need to fast track that research so we understand but I think the biggest point to be made is that there are risks associated with anything you do and especially sports. Let’s recognize what those risks are, let’s be aware of them and as it pertains to concussions and head injuries, let’s be able to recognize them and be able to treat them appropriately. If it requires a kid sitting for two weeks and missing two games before he goes in or is ready to play then that is what it requires and that’s how we’re going to take care of our future generation.”

Listen to Drew Brees on WFAN in New York here

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