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Thursday, 31 March 2011 10:13
New Orleans Saints’ Brees Feels Role In NFL Labor Dispute
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Ed StatonSaints quarterback Drew Brees said he's optimistic the labor dispute with the owners will get resolved.

Brees was in San Diego on Wednesday to promote next month's Cox Celebrity Championship, the tournament to benefit charity. Brees, of course, was asked about his role and thoughts on the NFL lockout that has thrown the offseason into turmoil and could threaten the 2011 season.

"I am very optimistic,"  said Brees. "I am an eternal optimist. I absolutely believe there is a settlement to be reached and that settlement discussions will take place over the next few months."

Being one of the staunchest and most on-point ambassadors for the players, it is no surprise that he quickly clarified his position on those talks.

Said the quarterback: "When I talk about settlement discussions, I mean settlement discussion as part of the class action lawsuit that we have as players for acting as a monopoly and restricting free trade and our ability to get back on the football field and play."

That is direct opposition to the NFL's position that negotiations between the sides will take place as part of collective bargaining -- not as part of the litigation process.

The players' union broke off talks on March 11 after 17 days of negotiations with owners. The union decertified in conjunction with that move and filed an antitrust lawsuit in Federal Court. An injunction attempting to bar the lockout is scheduled to be heard on April 6. And decisions made in the weeks following that hearing will certainly be appealed by the side that loses.

Brees has been a vocal advocate for players since well before the season. Noted by others involved in the negotiating sessions was that Brees stood out among the players present for his polish.

"I am aware of the sacrifices that guys made before me and I feel it is my responsibility to represent not only current players, but future players and the future of the league," said Brees. "I can't tell you how many guys have come up to me and told me how much they appreciate having a quarterback, having a guy like me stand up for them, to represent them.

"That means so much for me because I'm not doing it for any other reason than I feel it's right, I feel like it's fair and I feel like I've been charged with that responsibility."

Brees doesn't plan to be in court on April 6 for a scheduled hearing on the players' request for a preliminary injunction to block the lockout.

Brees said the injunction is necessary "so we can get back into our facilities and start working out and start playing football, because that's all we want as players, We just want to play football. This fight was brought to us, so we're in a position where we're just trying to get back on the field as quickly as possible."

Brees will skip the April 6 meeting because lawyers have downplayed the importance of his presence.


The fallout from a television program that's yet  to be aired continued as Auburn is privately calling into question accusations that were made allegedly against the football program.  HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” will dive headfirst on Thursday night into what the "Columbus Dispatch" describes as "the fiscal hypocrisy of major college sports", and based on the early reviews, Auburn, and "money handshakes” will be a significant theme. Stanley McClover, who played at Auburn from, 2003-05, said he received $4,000 after getting four sacks against Alabama and that he received money in a book bag during the recruiting process. He also said he received a $500 handshake at LSU and sexual favors at Ohio State. This has been going on for years at most major athletic programs....


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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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