From April 1 through the day after Super Bowl XLVII, Saints coach Sean Payton will be suspended from the NFL. But he may find employment for the season with one of the league’s broadcast partners.
Judy Battista of the New York Times reports that FOX is considering hiring Payton.
“Our feeling about Sean is that he’s bright, articulate and obviously contemporary,” FOX senior vice president for communications Lou D’Ermilio told Battista. “Any network with NFL rights would have to consider it.”
According to Battista, the other apparently have considered it — and they have decided against it. Representatives of CBS, ESPN, and NBC each said that Payton would not be hired.
The league, which under former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue notoriously pressured ESPN into dropping the fictional football show Playmakers, says it has no problem with Payton working for one of the networks.
“He is suspended from the NFL for the season,” the NFL said in a statement. “His involvement in any non-NFL employment or business matters is not our decision.”
It’s the right position for the league to take, and it’s good to see that the NFL isn’t so intent on enforcing its suspension that it would keep Payton from finding other ways to occupy his time and earn a living, even if it means that Payton will be part of the televised presentation of NFL games.