Not long after he was released, reports surfaced that he recruited several members of the organization to invest in a Louisiana film company.
Once the company qualified for a tax-credit plan aimed at encouraging investment in such businesses, the investments would have resulted indirectly in a large return, via the application of the tax credits.
The only problem? The company never qualified for the tax credits. And so nearly $2 million apparently has been lost.
We’ve suspected from the outset that Houser’s termination arose directly from his role in the failed investment strategy. There was no other reason to drop a guy who has been doing the job so well that, as all good long snappers do, he remained virtually anonymous.
(It surely wasn’t done to save some of owner Tom Benson’s money. As Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune points out, the Saints will spend an extra $100,000 in base salary on Houser’s replacement, Jason Kyle.)
Though we don’t think the move was retaliatory (even though coach Sean “Spielberg” Payton lost $144,000), we’re convinced Houser was cut because his ongoing presence would have disrupted team chemistry. How are the 53 men in the locker room supposed to properly focus on winning football games when there’s a guy hanging around that several of them would like to beat until he’s unconscious?
Speaking of unconscious, tight end Jeremy Shockey (who lost $80,000 in the tax-credits deal) revealed significant animosity toward Houser via several recent entries on Shockey’s Twitter page.
Wrote Shockey on July 7: “you think your buying LA film tac creits. but the f–kn snapper didnt… wow this is a f–ked up world we live in.”
(We assume Shockey was referring to “tax credits.” Unless “tac creits” is the name of some new drink they’re mixing in Las Vegas.)
The Times-Picayune points out that Shockey also posted the following entry, which no longer appears on his page: “thx chad houser our long snapper for losing my coaches, teamates, and me around 2mill$.. what a dumb ass.”
Earlier today, Shockey summed up his feelings, again via Twitter: “Glad we got a new long snapper bad people bring bad karma….”
So the Saints probably made the right move. Whether the Collective Bargaining Agreement permits a termination decision to be based on such considerations is a separate issue.
And it won’t become relevant unless and until Houser decides to file a grievance. Based on recent comments from Houser that seemed to indicate acceptance of the move, it’s not likely that Houser will be fighting his firing.