Drew Brees has been on the wrong end of a decision made by Roger Goodell once before. The Saints were handed a punishment for Bountygate that included a year-long suspension for coach Sean Payton and suspensions for Brees' teammates that were later overturned.
Now that Deflategate is back in the news following the reinstatement of Tom Brady's four-game suspension in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Brees made clear his feelings about the NFL and its disciplinary practices in an interview with SI Now's Maggie Gray.
Gray asked Brees if Brady's case underscored the fact that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has too much power when it comes to disciplining players.
"I think we would all agree he definitely has too much power," Brees said. "He is basically judge, jury, executioner when it comes to all league discipline. I mean listen, I'm not gonna trust any league-led investigation when it comes to anything because it's not transparent.
"At times, I feel like there's a desired conclusion or agenda that they have in mind, and that prevents maybe the absolute truth from being told or the absolute facts from being presented. And at the end of the day we as the public, we as players don't really ever get to see that. We never get to see those facts, those truths, those things. That's the unfortunate part about this whole thing."
Brees and Brady took on the NFL together in court back in 2011. They were among the 10 players who sued the NFL in federal court, accusing the league of conspiracy and anticompetitive practices. With the lawsuit, a request for an injuction was filed that would keep the NFL and its teams from engaging in a lockout.
That Brees had Brady's back, pushing the idea for a third-party arbitrator in these types of cases, came as little shock.
"In regards to Brady in particular, I think we all thought that this was a dead issue," Brees said. "All of a sudden it's announced a day or two ago that his suspension has basically been upheld or the decision that Goodell has that authority to suspend him for four games has been upheld.
"It is what it is. I really don't know the inner workings of how that's been going over the last year. I think we all thought it had passed, and here it is again. I'm sure we'll learn more about it over the next few weeks, but I think certainly there should be more of a third-party, independent involvement when it comes to suspensions."
Clearly Brees was still sore about how the Bountygate issue was handled, and the issues that have come up during Deflategate have looked all too familiar for him.
"In regards to the bounty accusations, which were found to be in most cases completely false, and yet it affects the perception as to what was going on with our organization and certain players and certain coaches that have very high character, very high integrity," Brees said. "Yet that was challenged, and unfortunately they were falsely accused in many cases.
"There's no apology that comes from that. There's no, 'Well we could've handled things differently.' It's very much, 'Everything's happening behind closed doors, and this is the way it is, and you just have to accept it.' There's nothing you can really do about it. We're just going to play the game, try to win championships, try to do it the right way and hopefully people will notice."