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.