Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Saints Offseason Troubles Continue

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
If the allegations are true, GM Mickey Loomis might be in some serious trouble
with the league and the federal law. 
In what has already been a horrendous and forgettable offseason for the New Orleans Saints, more troubling news is headed their way.

In early March, ESPN's Adam Schefter broke the news that the Saints have been running a bounty program - a malicious program where players are rewarded for injuring offensive players - for the past three seasons.

Now, the latest accusations are that the Saints implemented a system in their stadium that allowed them to listen in on opposing coaches' radio communications. Supposedly GM Mickey Loomis' press booth could wiretap the radios and headsets used by opponents inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

The Saints have denied the claims reported by an ESPN source, calling them "absolutely ludicrous" and "1,000% false".

Loomis was already suspended by the league for the first eight games of the regular season for his role in the bounty scandal. He could face further disciplinary actions, and could even be found guilty of a federal crime.

Also suspended for their roles in the bounty scandal were defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was suspended indefinitely by the league, and head coach Sean Payton, who was suspended for the entire upcoming season. Also, several players, including Jonathan Vilma, could face possible suspensions or fines from the league.

The Saints' miserable offseason started off on the wrong note instantly, when the Saints refused to offer  six-time Pro-Bowler, and starting quarterback Drew Bres a new contract. Instead they gave him a slap in the face, or what is known in the NFL as a franchise tag.

Brees says he wasn't that upset, and that he is ready to go in 2012, but we all know how offended he was by the Saints' stingy move.

The next bad sign for the Saints was Bountygate, which made headlines when filmaker Sean Pamphilon released tapes of Gregg Williams telling players to go after Michael Crabtree's ACL, and Frank Gore's head. Pamphilon was making a documentary on former Saints safety Steve Gleason who was recently diagnosed with ALS.

The program began in 2009, the same year the Saints won the Super Bowl, and was active up until the end of last season.

With the Saints already on thin ice, the recent wiretapping allegations really puts them in a bad situation. Although the Saints deny it, and the league says they were unaware of any such situation, investigations are underway.

Hopefully for the Saints, this wiretapping accusation is nonsense. It would be a shame to see a top team like the Saints go down with a terrible legacy, after working so hard to rebuild their franchise after Hurricane Katrina.

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