NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 24: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints talks with the referee during the game against the Cleveland Browns at the Louisiana Superdome on October 24 2010 in New Orleans Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Sean Payton
I'm sure you've heard by now about the Saints 'Bounty' scandal. I admit when I first heard it I wasn't surprised nor did I think it was too big of a deal. Many have jumped to the Saints defense with the 'everybody does it' defense but at the same time everyone agrees the Saints were much more blatant about the pay for 'performance'. Well I ran across a good piece that tells me the Saints will pay a steep price because from the league's view this is just another in a series of transgressions that started with the hiring of Sean Payton:
They've openly mocked the league's media policy since Payton took control, including intentionally being more than an hour late to Media Day at Super Bowl XLIV. A 2010 lawsuit by the Saints' former director of security, Geoff Santini, accused Loomis of trying to cover up the theft of the prescription painkiller Vicodin by members of the football staff. The front office also ignored league directives to disassociate themselves with convicted felon Mike Ornstein, who - surprise, surprise - was also implicated in the bounty scandal.
I had totally forgotten about the Vicodin scandal and Payton's central role in that scandal. Then when you add in the other stuff, including failing to disassociate with this Ornstein character explains why so many expect the Goodell to levy the biggest penalty to a team and coaches the league has ever seen.
When I first heard the Saints might face a big fine AND forfeit draft picks I thought that was going too far. Now that I look at this obvious pattern of detrimental behavior by the franchise I hope the league does come down hard. It will be well deserved.