NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's week started with some eye-opening comments from one of the NFL's biggest stars. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees told SI's Peter King that, among players, "nobody trusts" Goodell.
As you might imagine, this created a media firestorm.
During a sitdown with NFL Network's Marshall Faulk on "Inside Training Camp Live," Brees clarified his comments without backing down (the full interview will air Saturday on NFL Network).
"I was asked a direct question: How do players in the league feel about the commissioner? I've talked to many, many players, obviously, I'm on the executive committee of the Player Association," Brees said. "So I talk to a lot of the guys who are involved in the union, and certainly my teammates and others. And I think that there is a general feeling that the players don't trust the commissioner.
"So I was asked a direct question and I answered it directly and honestly. By no means was I trying to be disrespectful, I was just being honest."
Brees pointed out that he's always been able to talk directly to Goodell and expects to in the future.
"It just happens to be that the big topic or issue this offseason has been the bounty allegations," Brees said. "Unfortunately, my team, my organization, has been directly affected in a very negative way by those allegations. The process is still ongoing and I think that we've said and done as much as we can do to prove our innocence," Brees said. "I would say that we felt the process from the very beginning has not been fair. But I think if you really want to look at where we're at right now, it's not over. I think that we believe the commissioner has a great opportunity to come to a positive resolution."
When Brees first said that players didn't trust Goodell, we contacted an NFL spokesman to see if they wanted to comment. They declined. It's a tricky spot for both Brees and Commissioner Goodell. The NFL hardly can consider responding that "nobody trusts" Brees even if they believed it. The Saints' quarterback is one of the game's most respected and promoted stars. He just also happens to be at the center of the battles between the NFLPA, the Saints and the league.
That's yet another reason why the bounty scandal has been one of the thorniest issues the NFL has faced in its long history.