Do Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis get it? Do they understand why Roger Goodell dropped the hammer on them? Do they really think that an appeal of their suspensions will work?
No, no and no.
With the decision to appeal the suspensions handed down upon them by the commissioner in the wake of “Bountygate” the New Orleans Saints head coach and general manager prove to me that they just don’t get it.
Roger Goodell didn’t hammer the Saints simply for having a bounty system in place because that type of thing probably happens in the vast majority of NFL locker rooms. Further, it wasn’t just the language of “knockouts” and “cart-offs” that brought down the commissioner’s wrath. Those things were bad by themselves, but they weren’t the reason why Goodell chose to punish the Saints.
It wasn’t the bounties themselves that did the Saints in; it was the lying and the lack of accountability that brought Goodell’s wrath crashing down on New Orleans.
The precedent was set with the way the league handled Michael Vick during his legal troubles. Vick’s crimes were bad enough and would have drawn serious sanctions from the league. But what really earned Vick his two-year suspension was the fact that he sat face-to-face with the commissioner and lied to him when asked if he was involved in a dog-fighting ring.
That lie, and the disrepute that the scandal brought on the league, brought the full weight of the commissioner’s disciplinary powers down on Vick.
The Saints situation is very similar in that both Loomis and Payton had been warned about the bounty program, looked the other way and pretended that the situation had been handled. They, in effect, lied to the league offices for three seasons about the program and made no attempts to end the practice.
Do they really think that Goodell is going to overlook that in any appeal scenario?
What will likely gall the commissioner even more is the fact that both men seem to be simply using the appeals process to buy time to set the organization up in fairly good shape before ultimately serving their suspensions. It takes time to find an interim coach and make decisions about the free agency process and the upcoming draft. The appeals seem to simply be a way for Payton to stay involved in the process for as long as possible.
Does anyone think the commissioner is going to take kindly to any attempt by the Saints to manipulate the system to their advantage?
What these appeals ultimately say to me is that the Saints simply don’t understand the situation they’re in, or they don’t care. After having the NFL in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, the Saints are now trying to manipulate the system for their own benefit.
They don’t seem to have the ability to look past the ends of their own noses and recognize that everything isn’t about them. They have tarnished the shield and should be willing to accept the punishment for their own actions.
Instead, they are using every trick they can muster to avoid the punishment meted out by the league in, hopefully, a vain attempt escape their responsibilities.
Because it seems more and more that the Saints just don’t get it.