Well, how should we expect them to feel? The Saints players were without their general manager Mickey Loomis and even their “backup head coach” Joe Vitt for weeks at the start of the season. The team has been without our head coach Sean Payton for the entire year. The entire organization, the players and even the fans have been drug through the mud for 10 months.
The Saints and their fans have been the whipping boys of the sports media, and even now many of the talking head pundits are still spinning the story of the suspensions being lifted. Writers like ESPN’s Andrew Brandt are saying the ruling reaffirms or somehow proves the NFL claims of Saints guilt with the sole exception of Scott Fujita. Interestingly Paul Tagliabue put his foot in his mouth up to his kneecap in his statements about Fujita, we’ll cover that later.
I’m not sure if there’s a motive but even reputable writers like NBC’s Mike Florio are helping the NFL and Roger Goodell’s attorney Tagliabue spin the story in the NFL’s favor. Florio is a lawyer himself and has been following the bounty story for months, even coming to the defense of the Saints after he realized that Goodell had been blowing smoke up his azz.
In an earlier article today Florio never questioned, and repeated Tagliabue’s assertion that the suspensions were for running a pay-for-performance program. Tagliabue knows that’s not true and so does Florio. Roger Goodell openly accused the Saints of running a pay-for-injury program, plain and simple. Tagliabue is trying to “change the record” now, and without questioning it Florio is actually helping him to do it. Luckily Peter Ginsberg didn’t just fall off the sugar cane truck, and has every public accusation Goodell ever made carefully documented.
Oops, I got wound up and got off the original subject, namely Will Smith and Drew Brees. Drew Brees isn’t waiting on a fine like Smith is so he didn’t sugar coat his feelings, although he left them open to interpretation:
Brees: “Congratulations to our players for having the suspensions vacated. Unfortunately, there are some things that can never be taken back.”
Damn skippy Drew. None of that crap can be taken back, or our season restored with our head coach back. I’m not sure if Will Smith is playing possum, worried about a pending fine, or didn’t read all Tagliabue’s statements, but Will was far too kind:
Smith: “I’m pleased with the ruling of Mr. Tagliabue to vacate my suspension. I continue to maintain that I did not participate in a pay-to-injure program or facilitate any such program. I appreciate that Mr. Taglaibue did not rush to judgment, taking into consideration all facts presented to him, before ruling– something that was clearly not done by Commissioner Goodell in previous hearings. I am looking forward to putting this all behind me and getting back to the game I love. I want to thank the New Orleans Saints, the NFL Players Association, the fans, my friends and family for their continued support throughout this ordeal.”
We’ll get back to the “honorable” arbitraitor™ Paul Tagliabue later, including the part where he insinuated the Saints players who swore statements under oath to the federal court in New Orleans committed perjury.
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