Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
Saints fans have an infinite reason to love Drew Brees for all that he's done in reviving the Saints and the charity work he does in the New Orleans area. But did anyone expect him to be an eloquent wordsmith on top of being a golden-haird, rocket-armed wonder?
Just check out this editorial Brees penned for the Sunday edition of the Washington Post. In it, he tackles the American Needle vs. NFL case that is about to go in front of the Supreme Court. The case has to do with antitrust laws, and like almost all Supreme Court cases, is layered and complex. Brees does a great job of breaking down what's happening in the courtroom and what it means to players and fans (no surprise, Brees is against the NFL on this one because they're seeking antitrust status that could jeopardize current player salary structure). Here's an excerpt:
I could choose to sign a contract with the Saints because of a crucial player-led antitrust lawsuit in 1993 that secured players' rights to sell our services as free agents. Until that case, team owners had acted together to control players and keep salaries low, while the popularity of the game and teams' revenues grew exponentially. Today, if the Supreme Court agrees with the NFL's argument that the teams act as a single entity rather than as 32 separate, vigorously competitive and extremely profitable entities, the absence of antitrust scrutiny would enable the owners to exert total control over this multibillion-dollar business.
What might the owners do? They could agree to end or severely restrict free agency, continue to enter into exclusive agreements that will further raise prices on merchandise, lock coaches into salary scales that don't reward them when they're promoted and set higher ticket prices (including preventing teams from competing through ticket discounts). These and other concerns prompted the NFL Players Association -- along with the players associations of Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League -- to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court last fall, arguing against the notion of the NFL as a single entity.
I'm not going to get into the politics of the whole situation or look at whether Brees is right or wrong. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy that a professional athlete can have the the wherewithal not only to grasp the complexities of what's going on in the league that employs him, but also the intelligence to be able to pen an editorial for the Washington freakin Post. Oh and in a time when athletes would be caught dead before making any sort of political stance that could jeopardize their standing with their league or sponsors, this is Ali-esque (sad that it's come to that, but you gotta take the small victories).
Bravo, Brees. Bravo.
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