Pardon for Payton

Pardon me, but I feel the need to call “bullsh*t” on something.  It is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s one game “pardon” of New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton, Assistant Coach Joe Vitt, and General Manager Mickey Loomis, to witness Drew Brees’ history making play at the Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday night.

Not to take anything away from Brees, who with a 40 yard pass to Devry Henderson, broke Johnny Unitas’ 52 year record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.  That is no small feat, and it’s a record the Saints quarterback will likely pad and hold for a while.  Maybe forever.  Congratulations to Drew Brees.

But I’m calling foul on the visitor pass given the suspended trio to share the evening with the team, albeit from a luxury suite and not on the field.  So as to avoid any look of impropriety,  Payton sat alone and when he was on camera (which was often), he looked stoic.  He was seen before the game visiting with Brees’ wife and children and did have a smarmy grin on at the end of the game, as the Saints picked up their first win of the season.  Loomis and Vitt sat together and talked throughout the game, just not with Payton.

Remember, people…these are three men banned from the NFL and the New Orleans Saints; Vitt for one more game, Loomis for three more, and Payton for the rest of the season, for the role their team played in a bounty program for injuries to opposing players.  Former defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended from the NFL indefinitely.  During the suspension, they are to have nothing to do with the team, the players, coaches, or employees.  They aren’t even allowed in the buildings, on the grounds, or at games.

Granted, the discipline process has been a clusterf*ck with a capital “C” (or is it a “K”?), it’s been tried in the courtroom and the court of public opinion and has yet to be resolved.  On Tuesday, Goodell reissued the Saints player suspensions, Defensive End Will Smith for four games, Linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the rest of the season, Linebacker Scott Fujita (Browns) one game, and Defensive End Anthony Hargrove (free agent) seven games.  The players have the right to appeal the ruling.  Again.

Brees petitioned Roger Goodell for a one game reprieve so his coach, assistant coach, and general manager could be present for his NFL history making throw.  I understand and respect that.  But given the seriousness of the charges and the NFL’s crackdown on injuries, it was both inappropriate and hypocritical.  It was also a huge distraction and if anything, took away from Brees’ historic milestone.  I swear, I saw Payton on camera more than Interim Coach (Offensive Line Coach) Aaron Kromer and was even aware of his potty breaks.

So, here I go…Bullsh*t.

Pardon me.