The fallout from the New Orleans Saints bounty program will most likely continue over the next several weeks and months, and two of the major figures in it, head coach Sean Payton, and General Manager Mickey Loomis, should be most concerned.
According to a report from Don Banks at Sports Illustrated, Loomis had full knowledge of the program, and lied to NFL as they investigated. Not only did Loomis deny any knowledge that the bounty program existed, but he also stated that he would put an end to it if it did. By knowing what was going on and lying about it, he embarrassed not only himself, but the Saints organization and most importantly, his boss, Saints owner Tom Benson. Not only did he bring shame to Benson and the Saints, he failed to carryout a direct order.
“When informed earlier this year of the new information, Mr. Benson advised league staff that he had directed his general manager, Mickey Loomis, to ensure that any bounty program be discontinued immediately. The evidence shows that Mr. Loomis did not carry out Mr. Benson’s direction,” the league’s internal report reads.
“Similarly, when the initial allegations where discussed with Mr. Loomis in 2010, he denied any knowledge of a bounty program and pledged that he would ensure that no such program was in place. There is no evidence that Mr. Loomis took any effective action to stop these practices.”
The league is definitely going to level Loomis with a severe punishment, but ultimately, his job may be over in NOLA.
Payton could be in danger of serious repercussions from the league if he doesn’t admit to what he knows, or take some responsibility, as it did happen in his locker room. Payton cannot separate himself from what has happened. The league apparently has evidence that will show he in fact, did know what was going on. If Payton doesn’t want to see his own firing take place, he would be wise to fess up.
The NFL has made it known over the last few seasons that they are trying to make an effort to make the game safer, and this is in direct opposition to that, on top of being outlawed by the league. Roger Goodell will not let anyone basically thumb their nose at him and his policies, no matter what names that are involved. There is no telling at this point what will happen to Loomis and Payton, but if Goodell finds them culpable, he very well could make sure that we don’t see either for quite some time. And if not him, Benson could as well. The Saints were made out to be the darlings of the league when they defeated the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 44, given the fact that they were from the city that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. But all that talk and media admiration will be curtailed and replaced by the negative attention from this. The Saints will suffer punitive image damage in the public eye for years, regardless of what happens to the individuals that were directly involved with what happened.