Sean Payton Divorce: Maligned Saints Coach Needs Football More Than Ever
It really couldn't get any worse for Sean Payton.
First there was that whole bounty scandal. Then there was the year-long suspension from football. And now, according to The Times-Picayune's Ryan Jones, he has filed for divorce from his wife Beth, to whom he's been married for 20 years.
According to Jones, the court documents are written in an attempt to keep the Paytons' identities private, using their initials and calling them only two residents of Tarrant County.
The document states that the reason for divorce is "discord or conflict of personalities between Petitioner and Respondent that destroys the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation," via Jones.
While Sean Payton's petition requested joint custody of the couple's two children, Meghan and Conner, Beth's counter-petition requested sole custody, with court-scheduled visitation rights for Sean, and child support.
It's safe to say that this personal drama isn't exactly what Payton needs at the moment.
His team—which was impossible to avoid rooting for just a couple of years ago as it captured the Super Bowl shortly after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans—has been mired in controversy for much of this year after the NFL uncovered a bounty program that rewarded players for hits that knocked opponents out of games.
In the aftermath of the scandal, Payton was suspended, along with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, general manager Mickey Loomis, assistant head coach Joe Vitt and four players. The team also lost its second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013 and it faced a $500,000 fine.
According to USA Today's Robert Klemko, the league's investigation concluded that although Williams administered the bounty program, Payton was well aware of it and didn't do anything to put a stop to it.
Needless to say, football could've provided a very necessary distraction for Payton right about now. This time last year, he would've been in the midst of minicamp. He'd have the upcoming schedule to dissect, playbooks to review and meetings to attend, all of which could have taken his mind off trouble on the home front.
Now, he has little to do but sit around and think about it. No football. No team meetings. No contact with the other coaches or his players.
Maybe someone needs to throw him a bone and give him some broadcasting work, though it's hard to believe that would be well-received in light of the damage his team has caused.
Is it hard to feel bad for Payton? Kind of, before this. Now, it's impossible to avoid feeling a little bit of sympathy for him, his role in the bounty program aside.
A person can only deal with so much trouble.
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