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Tagliabue must keep Saints in New Orleans

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Tagliabue must keep Saints in New Orleans The defining moral crisis in the NFL has nothing to do with two boats of Vikings sailing the always active waters of jock entitlement. Lake Minnetonka is not even a ripple in the ...

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Old 10-25-2005, 11:31 AM   #1
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Tagliabue must keep Saints in New Orleans

Tagliabue must keep Saints in New Orleans

The defining moral crisis in the NFL has nothing to do with two boats of Vikings sailing the always active waters of jock entitlement. Lake Minnetonka is not even a ripple in the ocean of sleaze that threatens to sweep the New Orleans Saints from a city of fractured levees and broken hearts, a city that should not be left to beg for the mercy of businessmen not inclined to give it.
Paul Tagliabue cannot allow one of his owners, Tom Benson, to use a great American tragedy as his ticket to ride. This isn't a fleeting commissioner's concern. This isn't David Stern fighting to get his NBA players out of throwback jerseys and into sport coats.

This is Tagliabue's legacy sinking or swimming in the vortex of a biblical flood.

If Tagliabue lets Benson's Saints abandon New Orleans for San Antonio, Los Angeles or Anywhere, USA, Tagliabue will make Pete Rozelle's decision to play football after President Kennedy's murder seem like a stroke of genius.

The NFL likes to say it is about community, the United Way, all that jazz. Bolt New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and nobody will take that claim seriously again.

"The NFL's commitment to public service," Tagliabue says on the league's website, "is as strong as the league itself."

Prove it. When you arrive at Sunday's Saints-Dolphins game at LSU, assure the fans their Saints aren't going anywhere. Start selling every owner in the league on the ethical imperative of returning the team to New Orleans.

Benson needs three-quarters of his fellow zillionaires to approve a permanent move to drier land and bigger luxury suites. That should be a 31-0 vote against, a crushing rebuke of a man who has hardened his standing among the worst owners in sports.

Though Benson hasn't said he's splitting for sure, he's done nothing to dismiss the belief he's as good as gone. Benson fired an executive who was all for staying put. Benson released a statement saying the Saints' future would be settled at season's end, but he'd already been unmasked by San Antonio's mayor, Phil Hardberger, the vulture circling over the thrashed Superdome shell.

Like Benson, Hardberger lives in a house with no mirrors. Either that or the dog ate his conscience. Once the gracious host with the most to offer an orphaned franchise, Hardberger is pursuing a forever commitment from the Saints with Barry Switzer zeal. His recruiting pitch?

Forget Katrina. Remember the Alamodome.

How charming that one American city is so quick to prey on the vulnerabilities of another. Sure, many New Orleans businesses faced with grim, post-Katrina reality have, or will, leave town. But the Saints are different. They represent a public trust. No matter how many losing seasons Benson threw at them, the fans kept coming back, delivering 36 consecutive sellouts.

Scores of hurricane survivors said they were using Saints games as a sanctuary, a place to hide from the madness that had engulfed them. And yet before the body count was official, Benson was already weighing the option of abandoning a region that had asked "how high?" every time he told it to "jump" during negotiations for sweeter deals.

This potential fly pattern puts Art Modell and Bob Irsay to shame.

"We don't want to see any of our teams move out of their markets," said league spokesman Greg Aiello, who declined to make Tagliabue available for an interview. The commissioner has a committee of eight owners examining the Saints' plight. He should remind himself and his committee that the Superdome is expected to be ready early next season, that New Orleans has staged a record nine Super Bowls and that an epic human tragedy shouldn't inspire anyone to count up the extra millions to be made in Los Angeles.

"We're going to do everything possible to make sure that there's a New Orleans Saints," Tagliabue told The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune. "But people larger than us — and institutions larger than us — are going to have to succeed in making sure there's a robust, healthy New Orleans. ..."

Sorry, Tags, but the NFL can help rebuild New Orleans by being a leader, not a follower. The American Library Association just announced it would keep its annual meeting in New Orleans next June to help residents "re-establish their lives." The people of that city have contributed too much to the culture to be stranded with their paddleboats now.

Just in case owners won't go along, the NFL's constitution and bylaws grant Tagliabue the power to take action "he deems necessary and proper in the best interests of the league." He needs to block Benson or face the moral fallout.

If the Saints go marching out, Tagliabue's legacy goes right with them.

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Old 10-25-2005, 01:38 PM   #2
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RE: Tagliabue must keep Saints in New Orleans

I don't think that Tags would be the one taking the majority of the blame if the Saints left, I'm sure Benson would bear the brunt of the people's wrath.
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Old 10-25-2005, 08:46 PM   #3
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RE: Tagliabue must keep Saints in New Orleans

I would blame Tags and Benson equally. I also think all Saint's fans know that Tags can block this shiiiit all by himself. That's why I would hate Tags forever, I already hate Benson and if I ever figure out where he is buried when he dies, I am going to take the biggest shiiiit I can on his grave or tomb, whatever!

Thanks for the great read 08, you help inspire a brother!
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