The teams in the NFC South have made plenty of headlines this week. If you buy into the Twittersphere and talk-radio soundbites, then this week has been fraught with controversy. Taxmageddon will hit Atlanta's poor once the unneeded new stadium is built, and Paul Tagliabue proved that the New Orleans Saints were victims of Roger Goodell.
But sometimes headlines can be misleading. More importantly, the difference in "sports news" and "sports talk" is vast.
Saints Unpunished, Not Innocent
Paul Tagliabue, former NFL commissioner and Bountygate appeals appointee, handed his down ruling on the matter yesterday. The result of his findings overturned all player-related suspensions and fines. The rush to declare that the New Orleans Saints had been exonerated might be a little misleading.
In fact, Tagliabue's ruling confirmed Goodell's findings that players had indeed taken part in the bounty program. He clearly explains that the fines and suspensions were lifted for another reason: the Saints organization as whole.
Tagliabue clearly puts fault on the coaching staff and front office.
Did the players violate the rules? Sure. But Tagliabue argues that they were encouraged by Saints coaches. Thus the coaches must bear the weight of any wrong doing. So Tagliabue essentially told the players, "Guilty as charged. You are free to go."
New Stadium Not at Taxpayer Expense
Potential tax hikes have been a hot topic in Atlanta since a non-binding approval for a new stadium was passed. This has been fueled by stories that local residents will foot the bill. The problem is that, unless they live in a hotel, they won't.
Blank has also guaranteed that any budget overruns will be covered with private funds. The remaining 30 percent would be provided by the same hotel-motel tax used to build the Georgia Dome. This means those living in Atlanta will benefit economically from revenue generated by the new stadium, and the cost will be paid by the visitors enticed to the new stadium.
There may be plenty of healthy debate about a new stadium, but those debaters need to begin with the facts.