It was reported this week that there was a giant photo of former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton hanging up at the team’s practice facility, as if to offer the players some sort of motivation.
In case anyone has forgotten, the reason that Payton is not the coach of the Saints is that he has been suspended for the entire 2012 season for his part in the bounty scandal.
The NFL has seen it fit to relieve him of his coaching duties for a whole year, but the Saints think it’s okay to place a huge picture of Payton, along with the caption ‘do your job,’ up in the team’s facilities. This man has been disgraced, I mean, come on.
Is that just how Sean Payton did his job? Is that the job Payton was doing when he either was directly involved in the bounty program, facilitated it, or at least turned a blind eye to it? Great ‘job’ Sean.
Current Saints head coach, Joe Vitt has said that it was team owner Tom Benson’s idea to hang the picture. If I were Joe Vitt, I’d be a little disturbed by this and might feel a touch undermined, but apparently he doesn’t.
“We are trying to make him proud of us and do the best job that we can. I think that you know that this man has Hall of Fame potential. I don’t think that anyone on our staff or anyone in this building is trying to replace Sean.”
It is clear that the Saints organization are in complete disagreement with the league’s findings and its decision to suspend Sean Payton. In my book, having your head coach found guilty of some sort of involvement in a bounty scandal is nothing to be proud of.
If anything, the Saints should be trying to distance themselves from Payton, not hanging giant photos of him for some sort of anarchic statement directed towards the NFL.
It’s almost as if Sean Payton is being given the same sort of treatment that Penn State coach Joe Paterno was afforded. That of achieving some sort of demigod like status, where they can do no wrong. But just like Paterno and Penn State, Payton has done wrong. Being suspended for every game this season is not just a slap on the wrist, it’s a hefty punishment.
If I were Sean Payton, I’d be ringing the Saints owner myself and insisting he rips the photo down straight away.