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Benson’s loyalty to Loomis seems odd

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As it relates to Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis, the most troubling aspect of the league’s announcement regarding the team’s bounty system comes in two sentences: “Mr. Benson advised league staff that he had directed his general manager, Mickey Loomis, to ensure that any bounty program be discontinued immediately.  The evidence showed that Mr. Loomis did not carry out Mr. Benson’s directions.”

In any other business, operating in any other industry, Benson’s next step would have been to fire Loomis, with cause.  No severance pay, no notice.  Benson gave Loomis a direct order to ensure that the team wasn’t engaged in a Cobra Kai-style program that blatantly violated the rules, if not the law.

And Loomis defied Benson.

But Benson didn’t fire Loomis.  Jay Glazer of FOX reports that neither Loomis nor coach Sean Payton will be fired by Benson.

It’s possibly not the first time Loomis lied to Benson.  Former Saints director of security Geoffrey Santini alleged in connection with his wrongful termination lawsuit against the team that Loomis lied to Benson regarding Payton’s involvement in unauthorized Vicodin use.  In that case, Loomis supposedly was protecting Payton.

In this case, it’s hard not to wonder whether Loomis is protecting Benson.

The league’s announcement emphasizes that Benson didn’t know about the bounty program.  But what if Benson actually knew?  Would he admit it, or would the Saints concoct a plan to insulate Benson, in the same way that Loomis allegedly tried to insulate Payton regarding the Vicodin fiasco?

Under this theory (and it’s only a theory), Loomis would take the fall and Benson’s hands would remain clean.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right to fire Loomis under those circumstances.  It also would be risky.  If Loomis were fired after taking responsibility for something he actually didn’t do, Loomis easily could spill the beans.

I need to be clear on this.  There’s no evidence that Benson knew about the bounty program, or that Loomis and Benson came up with an explanation that protected Benson while throwing Loomis onto the fleur-de-lis.

Other than, of course, the bizarre reality that Benson won’t fire Loomis, even though Loomis blatantly defied Benson on such a critical matter.

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29 Responses to “Benson’s loyalty to Loomis seems odd”
  1. eballa1 says: Mar 3, 2012 9:59 PM

    Benson is a hands off owner. Unlikely he knew anything going on in the locker room.

  2. bobulated says: Mar 3, 2012 9:59 PM

    I think it’s pretty obvious Benson knew and condoned the activity and Loomis is taking the fall.

  3. sdisme says: Mar 3, 2012 10:02 PM

    I think looking at the timeline give you your answer.

    Benson directed Loomis to end bounties after the 2011 season. That leaves 2 playoff games. I’m sure after the investigation Loomis and Payton knew Williams would not be back in 2012, so I’m guessing took the why rock the boat in the playoffs approach, the problem will work itself out.

  4. cobrala2 says: Mar 3, 2012 10:03 PM

    Sweep the legs, Benson. You got a problem with that?

  5. bleedgreen says: Mar 3, 2012 10:03 PM

    You mean, he’s loyal to the two guys that brought sustained success to his team for the first time in its history along with a Super Bowl victory? Yeah, that’s weird man, real weird.

  6. vuudu says: Mar 3, 2012 10:03 PM

    Mike will hammer these guys. I almost fear what you might say next Mike. Go easy on the guys. lol

  7. paulieorkid says: Mar 3, 2012 10:06 PM

    I was thinking about that same possibility all along — even before it was announced Loomis wouldn’t get canned.

    Insulate employer ===> save own ass.

  8. alldonesmith says: Mar 3, 2012 10:10 PM

    Nothing odd about it. Loomis and Payton brought him a Super Bowl, and along with it a TON of new revenue from people hyped about the Saints being relevant. Remember, before those two, the team was still frequently being referred to as the ‘Aints. Now, whether Benson is making the right decision or not is another thing entirely. But it’s clear what his priorities are.

  9. profootballwalk says: Mar 3, 2012 10:14 PM

    A former governor of Louisiana famously once said that the only way he’s be punished would be if they caught him in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. Given that Louisiana in general, and New Orleans in particular are notorious sink holes of corruption, no assumptions of bad behavior or corruption are unreasonable.

  10. beerndonuts says: Mar 3, 2012 10:17 PM

    More pragmatic than odd I think. Loomis is the GM, and there’s a draft coming up. Bringing in a new GM would confuse the Saints plans, and holding a draft without a GM would create an unnecessary power struggle.

    Finally, a Loomis firing would likely mean a change in HC, and Payton has not only been popular, but successful by most measurements…

    Loomis will likely keep his job as long as Payton and the Saints keep winning.

  11. deathspiralx says: Mar 3, 2012 10:24 PM

    Here we go…
    * What did Benson know and when?
    * The cover up will be worse than the crime.

    The saints sound like their headed for the loss of a draft pick…

  12. mbart82 says: Mar 3, 2012 10:32 PM

    Just like the mafia back in the day. The “godfather” is always insulated, and the fall guy is handsomely rewarded behind closed doors.

  13. possiblecabbage says: Mar 3, 2012 10:44 PM

    The only alternative explanation I can come up with for why Benson hasn’t fired Loomis already, is that Benson doesn’t want to have to replace his general manager right before free agency and the draft, and that Loomis will be fired immediately after the draft.

    If Benson doesn’t fire Loomis the day after the draft, I agree that there’s something fishy here.

  14. WestCoastVet says: Mar 3, 2012 10:48 PM

    “a Cobra Kai-style program” – LOL!

    This situation could easily be rectified by the NFL. They simply institute a fine against the Saints for every day that Loomis is on their payroll. Say, $1 million a day? I betcha he gets fired real fast if that happens.

  15. ascensionparish says: Mar 3, 2012 10:50 PM

    It’s also possible that we don’t know the true dynamics of the knowledge of the situtation; or the relationships between Benson and Loomis/Payton. Tom Benson is a powerful man. And also a ruthless businessman. If he doesn’t discipline Mickey Loomis or Sean Payton with employment termination, then that would signal to me that some of the reports we have been hearing over the past 24 hours or so have not been completely accurate.

  16. ausernamethatisavailable says: Mar 3, 2012 10:51 PM

    The whole thing is a joke, at least half the league is doing similar things. Every former player I have heard is poo-pooing this while the “journalists” are acting high and mighty like this is so awful. Are you even watching the games? When players are on the field they are not average citizens. If you can’t flip the switch to crazy on the field you can’t play D line, lb or safety. It is not pretty but these guys are animals on the field and if your opponent gets hurt from a legal hit than so be it. Fact is if key players get hurt it impacts the game. Who things SF safety that knocked out P Thomas was not trying to hurt him? He speared his head and knocked him out the game and that hit probably one the game for the niners. And he probably collected some cash. The truth ain’t always pretty.

  17. detruthhurts says: Mar 3, 2012 10:53 PM

    profootballwalk says: Mar 3, 2012 10:14 PM

    A former governor of Louisiana famously once said that the only way he’s be punished would be if they caught him in bed with a dead girl or a live boy. Given that Louisiana in general, and New Orleans in particular are notorious sink holes of corruption, no assumptions of bad behavior or corruption are unreasonable.

    Thats funny right there, I dont care who you are!

  18. usmutts says: Mar 3, 2012 11:13 PM

    Assuming Benson didn’t know, and instructed Loomis to end the bounties when he was informed of it, and is therefore without blame:

    Benson should only consider the long term impact this will have on the entire team, his investment in other words, in the future. Goodell can do long term damage with suspensions of, say, Payton and Loomis as well numerous players, plus draft punishments for a long time. Given the player safety issue Goodell has made the cornerstone of his reign, his legacy, and the pressure he’s facing to hand down severe punishment, the future competitiveness of the Saints is at risk.

    To save his franchise, Benson should take bold steps to convince Goodell not to cripple the Saints’ ability to compete on the field. Here’ how: Fire Loomis now. Fire Payton now and replace him immediately with Spagnuolo, who was not with the team during this sorry episode. Then he should beg Goodell not to punish any players nor take away any draft rights. (Besides, Spagnuolo can run the draft just fine)

  19. studs0n says: Mar 3, 2012 11:46 PM

    Loomis, the guy responsible for signing two of the greatest free agent deals in Saints, possibly NFL history, in Drew Brees and Darren Sproles. Also responsible for drafting guys like Jimmy Graham (3rd round), Malcolm Jenkins, Carl Nicks (5th round), and Marques Colston (7th round).

    It’s all about money, a shake up in the organization, while the Saints still have a good chance to continue winning is not good for ticket sales. Just ask the Hornets how that worked out.

  20. jbcommonsense says: Mar 4, 2012 12:37 AM

    There is no evidence that Benson knew that the bounty to knock out a player was maintained. Neither do we know that he was not aware of it. That is perfect insulation.

  21. stevenfbrackett says: Mar 4, 2012 12:39 AM

    It is not only odd that he hasn’t fired anyone. It is odd that he wasn’t even angry when he issued his statement.

    He should be furious. These idiots have caused irreparable damage to his team. There is going to be a hefty fine, lost draft picks and who knows what else from the league. And you can be damned sure they are going to lose advertisers and sponsors who just don’t want to be a part of their dirty program.

    Not to mention the huge embarrassment of it all.

  22. dempsey63 says: Mar 4, 2012 1:48 AM

    Benson didn’t hesitate to fire GM Arnie Fielkow for opposing a move to San Antonio and refusing to sign a confidentiality agreement. He likely is waving a similar document in front of Loomis’ face as we speak.

  23. Slim Charles says: Mar 4, 2012 2:24 AM

    Of course Benson knew lol, he’s the owner. The punishment won’t get to him though. He owns Goodell.

  24. clayton43 says: Mar 4, 2012 3:02 AM

    Cobra Kai-style program … ok now that was actually pretty funny lol lol

  25. kingpel says: Mar 4, 2012 8:08 AM

    That is because NO ONE REALLY CARES! Sure, everyone involve will put on an act saying how remorseful they are, but the truth is they could care less about a bunch of whiney media types getting their panties in a bunch at every and any opportunity. Oh the outrage! They had bounties! Get over yourselves or go watch some women’s soccer.

    The dramatic spin you put on this situation is just silly.

  26. youbi06 says: Mar 4, 2012 8:12 AM

    Loomis is one of the very best in the business why would Benson get rid of him? he brought success in New Orleans!

  27. saintsly says: Mar 4, 2012 12:20 PM

    Who’s to say that when Benson told Loomis to stop the betting and he did. Just because there is no evidence does not mean it was not handled. Anything before that was already done and all this crap is for nothing. There is a lot that we don’t know and probably will never know but the bell has been rung and can’t be unrung. Shame on the NFL for not handleing this behind closed doors. My Saint will forever be the Dirtiest team in the NFL and I don’t see that as a bad thing. The other 31 teams are on notice to tighten their chin straps and bring it.

  28. stadanko says: Mar 4, 2012 2:11 PM

    How come no one dared mentioning firing Bill Belichek when the Pats got caught doing something that actually gave them an advantage in game?

    How come Michael Vick didn’t get more than a slap on the wrist after lying to Goodell’s face?

    He’s tough when it’s convenient and the media just needs some drama during this boring time of year so they play right along. What a ridiculous witch hunt this is turning into.

  29. realfootballfan says: Mar 4, 2012 3:53 PM

    Odd how? Payton and he brought the only championship to this awful franchise and have made them one of the league’s most popular franchises.

    This is the man who employed Jim Finks, a universally hated man, for years and isn’t exactly beloved himself.

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