It has been a fortnight since New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees sparked outrage among the NFL community with his comments regarding kneeling in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
Although the media storm that welcomed him has certainly subsided, there are still questions surrounding what relationships will be like when the team returns to face-to-face training.
In episode three of Prattling Pigskin, Jeff Reinebold spoke to UKPigskin about whether or not he expects the alliance within the Saints organisation to be permanently damaged.
“I asked Thomas [Morstead] about that and he said the Saints have already gone into their coaching sessions (via Zoom) and are addressing the issue inside their locker room” said the CFL coach.
“Drew has apologised to his teammates and Thomas said that he feels very strongly that Drew is sincere in his apology.
“It has the potential, if done the right way, to draw the team even closer but it can also be a divisive wedge in a football team and that’s part of the real coaching that goes on.
“You think of coaches as guys that give players assignments or cup them with a technique or fundamental but it’s much more than that and I think we’ll find out who the truly great coaches are in this environment”.
There is, as Jeff states, always a potential for this to bring the team closer and Michael Thomas was one of the first to publicly embrace his quarterback following the apology.
However, with that said, Thomas is one player and there were many among the franchise it seemed to hit much harder. Some may not be as forgiving.
“Obviously there has been damage done. You hear the things that Malcolm Jenkins said and you hear the things that Ed Reed said” added Reinebold.
“Ed is not a teammate but he’s a guy that particularly the young players pay a good deal of attention to because he was such a good player and for him to come out and call Drew Brees a ‘sucker’ – in the vernacular of a player, that’s a pretty strong statement.
“Obviously there’s going to be some damage there and it’s not going to be the same vibe when they all get together but I also know this from being in 30 years of pro locker rooms – they are very forgiving as long as they feel that the apology is genuine and the player that apologised demonstrates with his actions that he really is contrite.
“Drew Brees is one of the most active guys in the New Orleans community, he and his wife have given over $5m to improve conditions in that city.
“It’s a beautiful city, it’s a fantastic city and it’s one of the few in America where the black population is larger than the white population.
“He’s done a tremendous amount of work in that city and I would hate to see the work that he’s done go for not.
“Drew has done an awful lot of work in their locker room too, Thomas will tell you this.
“They’ve got a very strong locker room and they have a number of leaders – not just the ones with the ‘C’ on their chest as captains.
“He’s going to have some work to do and he’s going to have some fences to mend. With some of the players, they probably won’t forget but I think they will be able to put it behind themselves when they play”.
If you would like to listen to the full interview with Jeff Reinebold where we discuss this in more detail, as well as much more including the future of Colin Kaepernick – you can do so via Spotify, Apple or as a visual on Youtube below: