Saints assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt has, along with head coach Sean Payton and G.M. Mickey Loomis, appealed the various punishments meted out by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Vitt, who received the smallest of the individual punishments, tried to strike a delicate balance in his letter to Goodell.
“By exercising this right to appeal, I do not want to convey to you that I do not respect your decision,” Vitt wrote, per Albert Breer of NFL.com. “I understand my obligations to the men I coach, the New Orleans Saints, to you and to the National Football League. I am proud of my association with and my career in the NFL, but I am not proud of my involvement in these events or how I conducted myself in the early stages of the investigation. Nonetheless, I am hopeful that the appeal will give me the opportunity to bring certain matters to your attention.”
The “certain matters” aren’t known. Neither is the impact of the “certain matters” on Vitt’s suspension.
“I have worked hard to earn the respect of the men I have coached and the organizations that I have worked for over the years,” Vitt added. “I am prepared to earn your respect as well.”
It won’t be easy. The bounty system and the pattern of dishonesty have triggered unprecedented penalties. Right or wrong, Goodell surely sees the behavior as inflicting serious damage on the NFL shield. It will be difficult for him to ever respect anyone who was involved directly or indirectly in these actions.