No second on third hand information, no guessing, no 'he said, she said', this is straight from the horse's mouth. On Sirius XM's "Mad Dog Radio" yesterday New Orleans Saints' QB Drew Brees was asked directly if Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was disrespectful to Indianapolis Colts' QB Peyton Manning and himself, Brees responded (via ESPN):
"Well, I mean, this is all I can say is, yeah, I was in that meeting and obviously anytime there's negotiations I think there's some back and forth to those, And I wouldn't say that things were disrespectful but what I would say is that there's are a lot of issues to get through and we're obviously not going to agree on everything and so it's a process and there are a lot of things to consider here. So hopefully we can continue to make progress here from now until that March 4th date. I think we're all hopeful that a deal will get done but if it doesn't then we will deal with that."
So perhaps loud mouth kickers (read: Jay Feely) and those relying too much on information from those not in the room (read: every other article on the matter) should step back, and get all the facts before immediately grabbing sword and shield to defend those who weren't in need of defense. Like I said yesterday, I have no doubt JR could have been abrasive in meetings- after all he's a 74 year old man. My grandmother was abrasive well into her 90's (rest her soul) but it never came from a position of 'disrespect', it was just a product of her age.
Can we consider this issue dead and buried now and file it away under 'nothing to see here'?
UPDATE: Per Darin Gantt the owners are behind JR as strongly as ever.
- When asked if the reports regarding Richardson changed the league's perception of the Panthers owner Greg Aiello said: "No, absolutely nothing has changed."
- For those of you reading in New York you may be interested in what Giants owner and CEO John Mara said:
"There is no more respected owner in the league than Jerry Richardson [...] In his role as the co-chair of the owners' negotiating committee, he brings integrity, the desire to always do the right thing and he has the full respect of all the owners."