January 1, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates throwing a touchdown pass in the third quarter against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-US PRESSWIRE
By Nate Davis, USA TODAY
If Drew Brees wasn't an NFL star, he might be getting recruited by the Obama or Romney campaigns.
After all, the New Orleans Saints icon knows how to craft a sound bite about an opponent. The star quarterback fired his team's latest shot of the Bountygate brouhaha at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during aninterview with Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
"Nobody trusts him," Brees said of the commish, who's suspended Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and defensive captain Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season (three other players received less severe penalties) for their alleged roles in the team's pay-for-performance incentive program.
"I'm not talking about a DUI, or using a gun in a strip club, which are pretty clear violations. I think there're too many times where the league has come to its decision in a case before calling a guy in, and the interview is just a facade. I think now if a guy has to come in to talk to Roger, he'll be very hesitant because he'll think the conclusion has already been reached.''
Brees, who's filed an affidavit on behalf of Vilma as the linebacker continues to lobby a federal court to overturn his suspension, is hoping to fall back on Payton's approach and philosophies as the team prepares to play without him and interim coach Joe Vitt, whose six-game suspension takes effect prior to Week 1.
"We're very familiar with coach Vitt, very comfortable, and then he's gone for the first six weeks. You take the two strongest presences in the building and remove them, and it's like taking the president and vice president away from government. You had better have a pretty strong Congress, then," rationalized Brees.
"Our mentality is this: Move on. Find a way. We will. The teachings from your parents never leave you, and eventually you're going to leave them, but you're going to carry those teachings with you.''