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Black clouds above New Orleans Saints are starting to clear up

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The New Orleans Saints are rallying. After getting hammered in the court of public opinion throughout the offseason, the Saints are slowly starting to regain some benefit of the doubt. Last week, federal judge Ginger Berrigan made it clear that ...

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Old 08-13-2012, 09:39 PM   #1
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The New Orleans Saints are rallying. After getting hammered in the court of public opinion throughout the offseason, the Saints are slowly starting to regain some benefit of the doubt.


Last week, federal judge Ginger Berrigan made it clear that she feels the NFL's punishments against the Saints for their alleged bounty program were too severe. And now the Louisiana State Police announced that they found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Saints after they investigated allegations of wiretapping against the team and General Manager Mickey Loomis that surfaced earlier this year.

Perhaps the nation isn't quite ready to re-anoint the Saints as the new version of "America's Team." But at least the word might be spreading that this organization isn't quite so defunct and despicable after all.

Throw in the fact that the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees ended their contract standoff in happily wedded bliss last month, and you get the sense that most of the black clouds hanging over this organization are clearing up just in time for the start of the 2012 season.

The Saints aren't perfect. For one thing, the organization clearly seems to have an unusual number of disgruntled former employees with axes to grind, for whatever reasons.

And when it comes to the bounty scandal, the Saints did clearly cross the line with an overzealous pay-for-performance program that included payments for injuries to opponents - especially during the 2010 playoffs. So they're not completely innocent victims.

But it also seems increasingly clear that the NFL went overboard in its punishments and its portrayal of the Saints' intentions in that alleged bounty program. And it sure seems like the ESPN report of wiretapping allegations wreaked of a media investigation that was "digging for dirt."

It wouldn't be fair to completely discredit ESPN's reporting, which cited unnamed sources, because only ESPN knows for certain how well it vetted those sources. And the network, especially its investigative arm at "Outside the Lines," has a strong reputation for journalism.

However, there are strong indications that ESPN lowered it journalistic standards on that report. For one thing, there were numerous reports that ESPN reporter John Barr was in New Orleans for weeks asking several sources for any negative information about the team before it found the wiretapping whistleblower. For another, the timing seemed awfully fishy when ESPN then reported that the local U.S. Attorney's Office had just learned from an informant about wiretapping allegations from seven years earlier.

Furthermore, ESPN's report never even actually accused Loomis of using the wiretapping device.

Buried in the original story was the line, "Outside the Lines could not determine for certain whether Loomis ever made use of the electronic setup."

The Saints may indeed pursue some form of defamation lawsuit against the network if they feel like they have legal grounds. However, it seems unlikely that the Saints will be able to win such a lawsuit since it is a fact that the allegations were reported to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The good news for the Saints is that the wiretapping story hasn't led to any punishments from law enforcement officials or the NFL - and the allegations seemed to fade from public consciousness pretty quickly.

The bounty investigation, obviously, will continue to have more lasting effects.

The Saints will still face plenty of turmoil in 2012. They're still heading into the season without suspended head coach Sean Payton, among others. And their punished players still might not win their battles in the courtroom - even with a judge who believes in their cause, if not their legal standing.

But after the offseason the Saints have had, all of these bits of good news are welcome.

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Old 08-13-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
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Re: Black clouds above New Orleans Saints are starting to clear up

I'll be satisfied when Vilma is vindicated, and not a moment before...
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Old 08-14-2012, 04:34 AM   #3
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Re: Black clouds above New Orleans Saints are starting to clear up

I have way to much crap on my plate to hang my satisfaction on the vindication of someone for something they did but there is no proof of or punished too heavily.

I believe what Goodell did is entirely wrong.... However I also do not believe that Vilma is "innocent".


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Old 08-14-2012, 09:13 AM   #4
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Re: Black clouds above New Orleans Saints are starting to clear up

I'll be glad when we can just put this whole mess behind us and start playing some football.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:20 AM   #5
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Re: Black clouds above New Orleans Saints are starting to clear up

I believe what Goodell did is entirely wrong.... However I also do not believe that Vilma is "innocent".


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Vilma has been accused of putting up money to hurt Brett Favre. If he didn't do that then he is "innocent".
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Old 08-14-2012, 01:58 PM   #6
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Re: Black clouds above New Orleans Saints are starting to clear up

I don't believe that Vilma ever participated in a bounty. A pay for performance.......most certainly. That does not make him a bounty hunter.
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