Former New York Giants WR Phil McConkey Voices Displeasure with NFLPA and Drew Brees
January 17th, 2013 at 3:00 PM
By Casey Sherman
Former New York Giants wide receiver Phil McConkey has made it clear he doesn't care much for today's NFLPA and its executive committee member Drew Brees. For the most part, the league has taken the blame when retired NFL players have come forth about their financial and medical situations; however, McConkey believes the NFLPA deserves the majority of the blame.
McConkey, who played for the Giants from 1984-88 and helped them win Super Bowl XXI, believes Brees' reputation has helped him escape any scrutiny from retired players seeking help.
"I know he's canonized, and people think he's great," McConkey said of Brees. "[But] if he got in front of a group of ex-players, I don't know what would happen."
The issues McConkey has with Brees are perhaps best summarized in a statement Brees made in 2009, questioning the decision-making of NFL retirees.
"There's some guys out there that have made bad business decisions," Brees said. "They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job. They've had a couple divorces, and they're making payments to this place and that place. And that's why they don't have money. And they're coming to us to basically say 'Please make up for my bad judgment.'"
McConkey was not happy when asked about those comments.
"It's disgusting," McConkey replied when asked about Brees's comments, "but that's some of the mentality that's around."
To be fair, in the same interview, Brees offered some praise for the retired players who helped the NFL become what it is today.
"They shaped the game for us. Because of those guys, we have an opportunity to play this game, to make the money that we make, to get the benefits we get. We will always, always, always reach back to give to those guys. But there's a way to do it."
McConkey claims the attitude held by Brees and the other members of the NFLPA are to blame for the hardships being suffered by the retired NFL players, not the owners.
"I see so many of my colleagues suffering terribly," McConkey said. "I really don't blame the owners and the management. I don't. It's the Players Association. They're the ones that should have taken care of the guys that went before them. And they didn't, and they still don't."
The issue of concussions has been a divisive topic inside the NFL. The league has been sued thousands of times, while the NFLPA has yet to face a lawsuit. McConkey believes the NFLPA should be a defendant right alongside the league.
“I don’t understand why they’re not suing the Players Association also,” McConkey said. “I think they’re more responsible than the NFL.”
McConkey also admitted to regretting the NFL strike in 1987 but insists the strike is benefiting todays players, including Drew Brees.
“All [the 1987 strike] benefited were some of the guys of today,” McConkey said. “There are some guys today that have absolutely no clue and that run their mouths. And Drew Brees is one of them."