I was in Connecticut, visiting my folks when news broke of the consequences for the whole bounty issue surrounding the New Orleans Saints.
I was actually in their basement – yes, outside of Louisiana, there are basements – taking a nap. I slept for 45 minutes – maybe.
When I woke up, Tim Tebow was a New York Jet, and the Saints, well, they'd been punished. I may never nap again. You can miss so much.
And then, it started. Ding. Text message #1. "Sean Payton suspended for the entire season?!?!"
Ding. Text message #2. "Uh oh...."
And so on and so forth. Ding. Ding. Ding.
The problem with being born and raised in Connecticut - where nine out of 10 folks love the New England Patriots - and covering the Saints, is that whenever something BAD happens, you are the first person on their mind. Their go-to gal... when wanting to rub another team's misfortune in someone's face... is me. (They still haven't gotten over the national embarrassment on MNF when the Saints crushed the Pats en route to the Super Bowl)
While there's no clear explanation for it all, my take on it is simple. The crime (the bounties) is unacceptable. The cover up (the lies) made it worse.
Now – there's no justification for what the Saints did, and I don't think what they did is right. It is on a much larger scale than the example I'm about to give, so don't cut me down for this, but I'm a big fan of metaphors.
Let's be honest and realistic. Is the Saints locker room the ONLY place this goes on? Or are they just the team that got caught? Is Ohio State really the only team where the players sold X-Boxes? Or got free tattoos?
When you were a child, let's say you missed curfew. Did you fess up, or did you think you can get away with it? The right thing to do is fess up. But when the rest of your friends were also late, and their parents didn't catch them (yet?) why should you be the one to go down for the crime? Doesn't seem fair. So, do you tell them the truth, and accept the punishment. Or let the bad judgment continue, cook up some story and promise to never do it again all while knowing it'll more than likely happen again. The lie snowballs, you get in too deep and you get caught. You're now grounded for a whole lot longer than you would have been (most likely) had you just told your parents the truth from the beginning.
It's life. It's a lesson. You learn from your mistakes. And maybe your friends do too. Or not. I'd be willing to bet more teams will be in trouble before it's all said and done. That's just my opinion though.
Back to my friends - it wasn't hard for me to get them friends off my back. I just reminded them of UConn's current issues... And of Spygate - is that not very comparable? They shut right up.
Don't chalk up the season to a loss quite yet. The odds may be against the Saints, but the chip on the teams shoulder will likely be the size of a boulder, and I don't know about you, but I believe in the underdog. Crazier things have happened.
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