Drew Brees: We're not all 'brutes'

ByMike Triplett ESPN logo
Thursday, September 18, 2014

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said Wednesday that NFL players shouldn't be negatively stereotyped in the wake of recent scandals that have engulfed the league.

Adrian Peterson's indictment on child abuse charges and the domestic violence cases involving Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald have dominated the news cycle and national conversation over the past two weeks.

"What I hope doesn't happen as a result of this is that the perception of NFL players is that we're a bunch of brutes and that we're beating our wives and abusing our children. And that's not [the case]," said Brees, a former longtime NFL Players Association leader. "Obviously we've all seen the Ray Rice video. We don't know exactly what happened with Adrian Peterson yet. That's still yet to be determined, so we can't make a judgment there. But you're talking about maybe, what, four or five cases across the league right now that are known, amongst over 2,000 players.

"So you want to say 1 in 500 right now. And listen, I'm not saying that those are good odds or bad odds. But I think that the perception right now is being portrayed that we all are in this category. And we're not all in that category."

Brees emphasized that many NFL players make positive contributions to their respective communities.

"There's a lot of guys that are doing a lot of really great things," he said. "And they represent all the great things about humanity and what it's like to be a leader and what it's like to be a great member of your community. But obviously that's not focused on enough at all. That doesn't sell."

Watt made similar comments Wednesday, echoing the sentiment of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel earlier in the week.

"I think that there are a lot of players in the league and a lot of athletes who do a great job, on and off the field," Watt said. "I think there are guys who don't get a lot of publicity and recognition for the things that they do. But that's part of the business. You know, negativity kind of sells the headlines.

"But I think there are a lot of guys who do a lot of good. And you try and support those guys and pump those guys up as much as you can."

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