Russini On Saints' Healing Process: It's Not Going To Be Easy

Drew Brees apologized for his comments about racial injustice, but the road to recovery could be long, Dianna Russini says

The DA Show
June 05, 2020 - 10:43 am

The 2020 NFL season is still months away, but the New Orleans Saints have dominated recent headlines, this after Drew Brees came under fire for his comments about racial injustice in America.

Brees drew the ire of several teammates, among other athletes, and has since apologized for his remarks.

How might this incident impact the Saints moving forward?

“You know how strong that Saints locker room is just from obviously following football and understanding that culture,” ESPN’s Dianna Russini said on The DA Show. “And it starts from the top obviously with Sean Payton and Drew Brees and Cam Jordan, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara – these guys have been united on everything. For all the years I’ve covered them, I’ve been around them through some of the really good times and the success that they’ve had – and they’ve had plenty of it. But we also know that they’ve been crushed three years in a row and heartbroken in numerous different ways, and they dealt with it differently every year. But the one thing that they have not done is turn on each other.”

How does Russini know that? Simple. She was there.

“When you’re a reporter in the locker room after a gigantic loss, your eyes and ears are open to some of the conflict that you would expect,” she said. “I’ve covered enough teams and enough big games when the blaming starts and the excuses – and they don’t. They don’t do that. They’re very good at keeping things in the building.”

This incident, however, did not stay in the building, as Thomas, Michael Jenkins and others took Brees to task on social media.

“I don’t think it’s going to be easy,” Russini said of the road ahead. “As strong as they are, there is a sensitivity and a level of emotion right now that it’s going to take some time. But I do believe that what Drew Brees presented in this meeting yesterday to Malcolm Jenkins, to the rest of the men, was sincere enough and open enough that I think the education process that a lot of the players feel that Drew may need is going to happen.”

Russini expects Payton to play a significant role in the healing process. 

“He’s not afraid of anything when it comes to dealing with issues on this team,” Russini said. “If anything, I’d argue he runs at stuff like this. He embraces [the] challenge of trying to make sure his family, which is what they call themselves, sticks together. So I don’t think it will be easy, but I do think that the Saints, come training camp, will be the New Orleans Saints and it will be no different.”