Brees and Manning are both students of NFL history. It seems neither is going to be Joe Montana. The last major labor action in football came in the late 1980s. It was brutal and ugly with the phrase “replacement players” becoming part of the sports vernacular. Some of the league’s stars crossed the picket line, including Montana. He never truly supported the union and this contributed to an eventual fracturing of the players.
Trust me: Brees is aware of this. He wants as many of the league’s star quarterbacks to be a centripetal force as possible. Indeed, he views this as almost a necessity to keep players together. He’s probably right.
If the player stars are vocal and visible the union stands a chance. If star players defect (like Montana did) or are mostly silent, the union can fracture. That’s what happened in the ’80s.
Brees is a member of the union’s executive board. He was one of the key players who organized the momentary player protest before season-opening game in September between the Saints and Vikings — the players held up their index fingers following the national anthem as a show of unity.
Brees has been criticized in the past by former players like Conrad Dobler after Brees stated in a USA Today interview last year the reason for some of the issues facing former players is because of bad financial and personal decisions. Yet Brees also is apparently highly motivated to make sure that these same players are taken care of in the new CBA.
There are plenty of smart and popular union players but it seems Brees is quickly rising near the top of that list. Which, if you know Brees, isn’t a terrible shock.
Wouldn’t you know, it will actually take a Saint to get the job done, Who Dat Believes in them Saints WE DO GEAUX SAINTS.
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