October 18, 2009
Finally, the New Orleans Saints had a reason to celebrate this season. Most importantly? They finally got their first win of the season, beating the San Diego Chargers 31-24, but it was also about Drew Brees going 48 consecutive games completing at least one touchdown pass, a new NFL record.
The big news beyond that had to do with Bountygate, obviously. Anything the Saints do this season is connected to that and to the unpopular figure of Roger Goodell, who upheld the suspensions on Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith while cutting Scott Fujita’s punishment short, although changing his reasoning for the suspension. Brees didn’t keep quiet about that.
It’s interesting because it seems now that Fujita is being suspended for contributing to a program outside the so-called Gregg Williams bounty program that gave money for forced fumbles and sacks. So now, Fujita is being suspended for something completely different than what he was accused of originally.
In Vilma’s letter, it basically says no matter if pledges were disclosed or not, up for consideration or not, or paid or not, any actions or rhetoric that encourages injuring or disabling opposing players warrants discipline. In that case, I think that just about every coach and player in the league might be a little scared right now for anything they have said. It seems like these punishments have been handed down based upon speculation and rhetoric.
I agree with everything that Scott Fujita said in his statement. I thought it was a strong statement, certainly very true. We’ve acknowledged for the most part that this whole bounty thing is just a big sham. And so the fact that our coaches are suspended for part of the year or the entire year is pretty ridiculous.
In my opinion, Mickey Loomis, Sean Payton and Joe Vitt were as big a part of this night as anyone, so certainly the opportunity to be in the building or be a part of it was important to me. Those are all the guys that brought me to New Orleans, brought all of us to New Orleans to help build the foundation of what we’ve been able to create there. I thought it was very appropriate that they were there.