NEW ORLEANS - Drew Brees has apologized for comparing the NFL's evidence of the Saints bounty program to that of the Bush administration's evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
"I apologize if the WMD comment offended anyone. Especially our military. There is no one I respect more than our service men and women."
"My WMD comment has nothing to do with politics or our brave military. Merely an analogy to show how media influences public perception."
Earlier via twitter Brees said, "If NFL fans were told there were 'weapons of mass destruction' enough times, they'd believe it. But what happens when you don't find any????"
Brees was disappointed with the appeals hearing on Monday and echoed his teammates in calling the process unfair. He also called the evidence given to the players and their representatives thin.
On Monday Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's attorney Peter Ginsberg called the hearing "a sham" and said Goodell failed to present the evidence on which he based his decision to impose Vilma's season-long suspension.
"Roger Goodell has taken three months to tear down what I built over eight years. It's tough to swallow. I have been linked to a bounty and it simply is not true," Vilma said.
"I don't know how I can get a fair process when he is the judge, jury and executioner. You're assuming it will be fair, but it's not."
Vilma has been suspended by the commissioner for the 2012 season.
Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita also issued a joint statement saying they were attending the hearing not because they were admitting to being part of the bounty program - or because they believed Goodell had the right to punish them - but because they felt the league "would attempt to publicly mischaracterize our refusal to attend."
"Shame on the National Football League and Commissioner Goodell for being more concerned about 'convicting' us publicly than being honorable and fair to men who have dedicated their professional lives to playing this game with honor," the three players said.