Last week I wasproud to be a New Orleanian. This week not so much after the revelation of theSaints’ “bounty” scandal. Football is a violent enough sport without players deliberately trying to hurt someone. Unfortunately, some Saints fans are already resorting to the lame “everyone does it” defense. That reminds me of Tricky Dick’s apologists during Watergate. The Picayune’s Jeff Duncan sums the whole sordid mess up quite well:
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Saints had become America’s Team. Everyone universally loved the story of their post-storm chumps-to-champs makeover. So much for that.
The Saints will now rank alongside the Spygate Patriots and cocky Cowboys among the most despised teams in the NFL. This story will follow the Saints for years. It’s not going to go away after the league hands down its punishment.
It also will tarnish the legacy of owner Tom Benson, who appeared to do everything right in this case yet was failed by the men he entrusted to lead his organization. Loomis and Payton were derelict in their duties.
This wasn’t a one-time indiscretion. This was organized, institutionalized system of improper behavior and actions that took place over an extended period and condoned by team leaders.
Everybody loves a winner. Everybody, likewise, hates a sinner. And in the NFL there are few greater sins than playing dirty on the field and defying the commissioner off of it.
In this case, not even the Saints can expect salvation.
Their punishment will be harsh. It will be extensive. And it will be just.