It’s always hard to hear about when athletes - or hell, anybody, for that matter - have strained relationships with their parents. It’s not the natural state of things and there’s no substitute for a loving parent when it comes to keeping yourself normal.
But that sort of goes out the window when it comes to people like Mina Brees, Drew Brees‘ mom. No, unlike most deteriorated family situations, this isn’t caused by substance abuse or other basic life screwups - she’s an attorney. Specifically, she’s one with no qualms about thinly-veiled extortion attempts against local businesses in Houston.
As the HOUSTON CHRONICLE notes, Brees is the president (and an agent) of Chicksports, which is actually not about teaching baby chickens how to play baseball on little tiny diamonds, even though it’d be just adorable. No, for some reason, she’s using it to demand unholy sums of money from restaurants for use of their business names, a tactic that doesn’t have much of a legal leg to stand on:
The letter, addressed “to whom it may concern,” informed the restaurateurs that their assumed names on file with the Harris County Clerk had expired. The new owner of all these names, a company called Chicksports Inc., was willing to sell each one back. The price? Some owners were told $25,000, others $20,000. The letter ended with what some considered a threat.
“If you have not contacted me by email or phone by August 14, 2009, Chicksports will explore its legal options for your use of the assumed name it now owns or contact other parties interested in owning the reservation of the right to this assumed name,” attorney Mina Brees wrote.
Sounds scary, except when you realize that there are pretty effective laws already in place protecting the owners from exactly this sort of tactic:
Calls and e-mails quickly went out from one owner to another and then to the [Texas Restaurant Association]. Its general counsel, Glen Garey, was stunned when he finally read a copy of Brees’ letter. It contained an ominous message, underlined and in all capital letters, at the top: “This letter contains information which is important to your business entity.”
“I was almost shaking I was so mad when I saw that letter,” Garey said. “I’m a member of the bar, and it’s embarrassing for someone in our profession to do something like that.”
He reassured members that the letters carried no weight and posted an alert advising as much on the association’s Web site.
“DO NOT PAY …” Garey wrote in capital letters. “The assumed name statute says clearly that there is no need to file an assumed name if your corporate name is your business name … .”
It probably wouldn’t surprise you that such behavior is not a new development for Mrs. Brees; her son stopped her from using his likeness during an unsuccessful run for the Texas Court of Appeals back in 2006. He also said their relationship was “nonexistent” on account of her “lies and manipulation,” so this probably is a matter of a long-standing pattern of behavior.
The worst part of the situation for Drew is that it’s perfectly natural to want a good relationship with your mother. People should want that. For a serial manipulator, though, that’s not a reason to come clean; it’s a bargaining chip, a way “in” to extract money from their children. It’s gross, but greed is gross. It’s just how things work.