Saints QB Drew Brees came out firing at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in his weekly press conference on Wednesday afternoon. Although he was relieved that Paul Tagliabue vacated the bounty-related suspensions and fines for two current Saints players and two former Saints players, he is furious with the entire process.
Here's his opening statement, word for word:
“The dismissal, the vacating of the suspensions, obviously this has been a nine-month ordeal, so I'm happy for our players -- Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, of course Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove, who are no longer with us. I think this was serious vindication. Certainly they've been through a lot and have had to go through a lot.
“Basically, what got overturned was 31 games of suspension, millions of dollars of salary, but most importantly, their reputations. Thank God for the fight and the resolve that all those guys had for justice and to fight for a fair process because that's all that they've ever wanted, that's all that anyone within this organization has ever wanted. The unfortunate thing is I feel like the NFL, through this whole process, including Commissioner [Roger] Goodell, has been all about an outcome as opposed to a fair process. That's all we've wanted this entire time, and that's what we fought for, and finally we got that.
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“What I would like to see is a level of accountability on the part of the NFL and Commissioner Goodell in regards to mishandling of this entire situation. We as players hold ourselves and are held to a very strict code of conduct both on an off the field. We have to be accountable to that, as it should be, and I feel like they should be held to the same standards. If someone would just come out in the league office and admit, you know what, we could have handled this situation better, it would go such a long way with both players and fans. I think people would really come around to realize what this thing was all about because right now the league office and Commissioner Goodell have very little to no credibility with us as players and I'd say with a lot of the fans because of the way that this has taken place.
“Like I say, we are held to a very strict code, and that's enforced, as it should be, and we take pride in that as players. I would just like to see them hold themselves to the same level of accountability and also I would love to see a full record of all the testimony from last week being put forth for players, coaches, fans, everybody to see. I think that would tell a lot of the true story about what's been going on this whole time.”
Follow Saints reporter Guerry Smith on Twitter @CBSSaints.