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WhoDat!656 04-24-2012 07:18 PM

Peter King's take on the latest allegation
 
One of Mickey Loomis' best friends, Cortez Kennedy, was sitting in a model's chair in Alpine, Utah, of all places, Monday afternoon, while a sculptor worked on his Pro Football Hall of Fame bust. The session lasted for four hours, and Kennedy kept busy by scanning the web and reading ... and then he saw the report that Loomis was being investigated for wiretapping the visiting coaches' booth at the Superdome from 2002 through 2004. Immediately he texted Loomis.

"What a bunch of liars!'' Kennedy texted.

On Tuesday, Kennedy, whose friendship with Loomis goes back to when he played and Loomis scouted for the Seattle Seahawks, explained why he feels that way.

"I've been with Mickey on game days since 2002,'' Kennedy said. "For a while I was an intern, learning the business, and I would be in the Saints' coaching booth for a while, but most of the time I was with him, in his booth, where he watched the games. I was watching how Mickey and [director of college scouting] Rick Reiprish [who began sitting in the box in 2004] do their jobs during the games, taking notes and keeping track of penalties and how far downfield passes go, things like that. Sometimes he'd be listening to the game through an earpiece. I knew that because at halftime or when he'd go to the bathroom, I'd pick up the earpiece and listen, and it'd be the game broadcast.

"Never once did I hear him talk about what was going on in the coaching booth with the other team. Never did I hear any evidence that we knew what was being said there. To me, the real outrage is, what advantage would it be for Mickey to hear it? He wouldn't have the time to get that information to our sidelines in time for it to have anything to do with the play on the field.

"I have been in that box for years, and I just couldn't believe it when I heard it. Shocking. No way it's true.''

ESPN reported on its Outside the Lines program Monday that the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana learned Friday that an electronic eavesdropping device was installed that allowed a line from Loomis' booth to hear what was being said in the visiting coaches booth. ESPN also reported that it didn't know if the listening device was ever used, and that it apparently was destroyed after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the Superdome was refurbished in time for the 2006 season.

What I find is the most interesting aspect of the story is the Saints' reaction to it.

Two years ago, when there were allegations of improper Vicodin use by Saints coach Sean Payton and assistant coach Joe Vitt, the team responded quietly and mostly off the record that the charges of Payton's abuse were untrue. When the bounty scandal broke March 2, the team had a mild, mealy-mouthed statement from owner Tom Benson. When severe sanctions were imposed on the team -- including Payton being suspended for a year and Loomis for eight games -- there was another lukewarm statement from the team. With franchise centerpiece Drew Brees in a prolonged contract dispute and boycotting team workouts, more silence from the team, and from the negotiator, Loomis. On the verge of sanctions that will result in the likely suspension of middle linebacker and defensive leader Jonathan Vilma, no reaction. Crickets.

But when this story broke Monday, the Saints reacted venomously. "The report is 1,000 percent false,'' spokesman Greg Bensel seethed in an email. "The team and Mickey are seeking all legal recourse regarding these false allegations.'' Bensel sent additional emails with denials from Reiprish, Kennedy and from the coach at the time of the alleged wiretapping, Jim Haslett, who said he never spoke to Loomis about having information from the visiting coaches' booth.

Covering the league for the last 28 years, I've seen the differences in each franchise. The Saints are almost a team to themselves in many ways; that's how insular they are. They don't concern themselves with what the rest of the league thinks of them. That's why if there's a negative report on one of the networks about one of their players or coaches, they shrug their collective shoulders. It doesn't matter to them. What matters to them is what the locals think, and the locals are as loyal as any local fandom of any team in any American sport.

The PR czar, Bensel, is a born-and-bred New Orleans guy who, I'm convinced, would turn down any PR job in the world, regardless of the salary, because he wouldn't want to live anywhere else or work for any other organization. I've never seen a reaction from him -- he's a don't-worry, be-happy type -- like this. He was wounded by it like no other story has wounded him.

And so that's why the reaction -- the strongest one I recall by this franchise about any story in the Tom Benson Era -- is meaningful to me. Could it be that Loomis is fighting for his professional life? Could it be that he knows this is true, but because the statute of limitations (five years) for prosecution of an offense like this has expired he wants to fight to be sure he is not only cleared on a technicality but cleared so he'll be able to resume his career without this scar on his record? Could it be that Kennedy, his good friend, is saying things because he's Loomis' good friend. All possible. Time will tell. (Though in the case of Kennedy, who I've known for 15 years, I can't see him falling on his sword if he knows the story's real. He's just not that kind of person -- at least from my dealings with him.)

I'm told this morning the league is going to investigate the story, which is to be expected. But I also didn't get the feeling today that the league views this with anywhere near the gravitas of the New England Spygate incident, or the Saints' bounty scandal. The reason: There's no evidence, yet, that the Saints either used the device if it was installed, or benefited from it. Now, if it was installed, and that can be proven, that's serious enough, and some sanction should be forthcoming. But I think there also has to be evidence that it was used for the sanction to be serious. If there's evidence, and we have seen nothing of it yet, Loomis is in big trouble. If not, Loomis should be in the clear.


Read more: New Orleans Saints' reaction to latest Mickey Loomis scandal an intriguing one - Peter King - SI.com

LivnaLieTimay 04-24-2012 07:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WhoDat!656 (Post 400239)
And so that's why the reaction -- the strongest one I recall by this franchise about any story in the Tom Benson Era -- is meaningful to me. Could it be that Loomis is fighting for his professional life? Could it be that he knows this is true, but because the statute of limitations (five years) for prosecution of an offense like this has expired he wants to fight to be sure he is not only cleared on a technicality but cleared so he'll be able to resume his career without this scar on his record? Could it be that Kennedy, his good friend, is saying things because he's Loomis' good friend. All possible. Time will tell. (Though in the case of Kennedy, who I've known for 15 years, I can't see him falling on his sword if he knows the story's real. He's just not that kind of person -- at least from my dealings with him.)

This part of the "article" shows King's blatant hatred for the Saints. Hey Pete, you ever think the reason Loomis responded this way is because it's a made up story? For haters like King, any negative news on the Saints has to be true. It's amazing how some of these morons have jobs.

Beastmode 04-24-2012 08:07 PM

Even if true, The Pats did what they did for years for EVERY game.
There is a sense of justice in the NFL that sickens me. Of these two teams the Pats benefited more, robbed fans more, disgraced the NFL more, yet they came out squeaky clean compared to the Saints.

NOLA54 04-24-2012 08:25 PM

Oh screw him! Just stop reading his BS! Loomis is clear & will officially be cleared. People are just throwing crap on the wall to see what sticks. All these nay sayers can go straight to hell.

ChrisXVI 04-24-2012 08:34 PM

I'm done reading this crap guys. I love my Saints, but I'm not supporting these people in the media anymore by visiting the websites, reading the articles, arguing with people in the comments section, etc. I'll be there when the season starts and I'll be cheering as loud as every mf'er, but this drama is absurd and I'm choosing to not even dignify it anymore.

spkb25 04-24-2012 08:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LivnaLieTimay (Post 400245)
This part of the "article" shows King's blatant hatred for the Saints. Hey Pete, you ever think the reason Loomis responded this way is because it's a made up story? For haters like King, any negative news on the Saints has to be true. It's amazing how some of these morons have jobs.

Everything else seems to have been true, where this seems to be false. Why would that not be why the reaction was strongest. ****ing idiot he is

TheDeuce 04-24-2012 09:16 PM

Am I the only one who sees this as Peter King (cautiously) taking the Saints' side? He talks about a believable, genuine guy like Cortez Kennedy who was actually sitting with Loomis when the alleged illegal activity was going on and vehemently denies that Loomis was doing anything like ESPN is saying. He also talks about how the Saints handled issues when they were obviously guilty to some degree (they stayed quiet), but this reaction is completely different; which to me screams that it's BS.

spkb25 04-24-2012 09:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheDeuce (Post 400274)
Am I the only one who sees this as Peter King (cautiously) taking the Saints' side? He talks about a believable, genuine guy like Cortez Kennedy who was actually sitting with Loomis when the alleged illegal activity was going on and vehemently denies that Loomis was doing anything like ESPN is saying. He also talks about how the Saints handled issues when they were obviously guilty to some degree (they stayed quiet), but this reaction is completely different; which to me screams that it's BS.

actually, on second read, I think you're right. It does sound like he is saying it could be all these other reasons, but to me it is because it is untrue.

I misread it

alexonfyre 04-24-2012 09:37 PM

I hope this isn't true...it may tarnish our...um...8-8 season in 2003?

LivnaLieTimay 04-24-2012 10:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheDeuce (Post 400274)
Am I the only one who sees this as Peter King (cautiously) taking the Saints' side? He talks about a believable, genuine guy like Cortez Kennedy who was actually sitting with Loomis when the alleged illegal activity was going on and vehemently denies that Loomis was doing anything like ESPN is saying. He also talks about how the Saints handled issues when they were obviously guilty to some degree (they stayed quiet), but this reaction is completely different; which to me screams that it's BS.

It's funny you say this because I wasn't sure at first what his stance was, but once I got to the paragraph I posted earlier I came to the conclusion it was anti-Saints. He says some nice things about the fans loyalty and Cortez Kennedy but never questions the legitimacy of the allegations. He talks about how OTHERS claim the Loomis allegations are made up be he never once offers his own opinion that it could be false. His only opinions in the entire article was the paragraph I copied earlier in which he never addresses that this could be a made up story. The rest of the article is basically a summary of what's been reported in the last 24 hours and how the organization has dealt with adversity in the past.


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