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Plane with “Free Payton” banner buzzes Saints practice

Sean Payton AP

The Saints have practiced under a large picture of Sean Payton throughout training camp and they got another reminder of their coach’s absence on Wednesday.

A group of Saints fans unhappy about the season-long suspension handed to Payton have taken to the sky with their complaint. Sheldon Mickles of the Baton Rouge Advocate reports that a plane towing a banner reading “Free Payton” flew over Wednesday’s Saints practice for about 15 minutes before taking its message in support of the Saints coach elsewhere. Interim coach Joe Vitt claimed to have missed the plane while linebacker Scott Shanle was one of the Saints players who copped to catching a glimpse.

“We all got a chuckle out of it,” Shanle said. “Somebody noticed and then everybody kind of noticed it. It doesn’t surprise me with the support for coach Payton off the charts.”

The group behind the flight is soliciting donations from fans to keep the planes flying. A member of the group telling Mickles that they plan to have them fly every day until Payton is “released.”

With the flights costing $500 an hour and the NFL showing no sign of changing their mind on Payton’s suspension, we’ve got a feeling they’re going to fall short of that goal.

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16 Responses to “Plane with “Free Payton” banner buzzes Saints practice”
  1. ampats says: Aug 16, 2012 10:44 AM

    Sounds very effective flying around Louisiana with Free Payton signs. It is also going to become very expensive as there is little to no chance that the suspension for Payton gets reduced before July 1,2013.

    Maybe they should try flying banners over NFL offices on Park Ave in NYC except Roger Goodell will probably have the Air Force scramble planes over Manhattan and shoot down the plane flying the Free Payton banner.

  2. ironhawk says: Aug 16, 2012 10:46 AM

    I hate to be one of “those people” but come on. $500 an hour? There are children in this country who can’t afford to eat.

  3. tjigger says: Aug 16, 2012 11:03 AM

    I thought it would cost more than that.. It would be easy for a few guys with $$$ to pay for a plane to fly 1hr a day for a few mths

  4. insanelomein2 says: Aug 16, 2012 11:10 AM

    This organization is starting to resemble a circus.

  5. terraj35 says: Aug 16, 2012 11:19 AM

    If they wanna waste their money then let them, but its not changing anything. Let it go Saints fans. Drew Brees might as well be the coach, anyway.

  6. tjigger says: Aug 16, 2012 11:28 AM

    Aug 16, 2012 10:44 AM
    Sounds very effective flying around Louisiana with Free Payton signs. It is also going to become very expensive as there is little to no chance that the suspension for Payton gets reduced before July 1,2013.

    Isn’t his suspension for 1 “football” year?
    So its over the day after the Superbowl

  7. omniscient48 says: Aug 16, 2012 11:47 AM

    Sean Payton was piloting.

  8. suhdidntstompanyone says: Aug 16, 2012 12:00 PM

    Free him from what? Last I checked he wasn’t in jail. What a waste of money and it doesn’t even make sense. Everyone that sees the banner already agrees with your point of view. I could understand buzzing Goodell’s house flying the banner but that’s about the only place that it would be remotely logical and I promise it wouldn’t make him change his mind.
    I guess you have to keep in mind that this is coming from a group of people who think “dat” is a word.

  9. slobmykolb says: Aug 16, 2012 12:17 PM

    Iron hawk:

    I hate to be one of “those people” but come on. $500 an hour? There are children in this country who can’t afford to eat.

    Don’t hate to be that person! These people are wasting that $ for a very dumb reason. Grant it they have that right but come on there are so many notable charities and under privileged kids right there in the N. O. That could use that money! Just another reason I think saints fans are dumb! Maybe no dumb just no sense!

  10. silentcount says: Aug 16, 2012 1:13 PM

    Why again was Sean Payton suspended for a year? Oh yeah, for being accused of something that there’s been no evidence provided as proof. Perhaps he should be freed, and Goodell should be suspended instead.

  11. acdc84 says: Aug 16, 2012 1:22 PM

    It’s pretty pathetic how the Saints are leaving Payton’s meeting chair empty all year “in honor” of him. That would be a neat thing to do if you’re remembering a coach that passed away, not one that overlooked a viscious bounty program.

  12. covercorner says: Aug 16, 2012 2:32 PM

    Payton is not in prison. He was suspended for cheating.

  13. daveman8403 says: Aug 16, 2012 3:13 PM

    He was not suspended for cheating. if you think that, then you have not been following this issue at all.

  14. dallasstars9 says: Aug 16, 2012 5:11 PM

    No – he was suspended for something worse than cheating. As far as I’m concerned he should have a lifetime ban from the NFL!

  15. gtodriver says: Aug 16, 2012 5:46 PM

    “These are serious violations and we understand the negative impact it has had on our game,” Payton and Loomis said in a joint statement Tuesday. “Both of us have made it clear within our organization that this will never happen again, and make that same promise to the NFL and most importantly to all of our fans.”

    Seems pretty obvious to anyone that can read the joint statement by Payton and Loomis back in March that these two men openly admitted to the violations that the NFL had uncovered.

    Why in the world can’t Joe Vitt, Jonathan Vilma and the rest of the crew just admit that it happened and move on like real men?

    Personally, the suspensions for managment, coaches and players should have been longer and there should have been more of them.

    But go ahead and fly around with a banner that just shows how little you care about the integrity of the game if it helps make you feel better Saint’s* fans.

  16. cowboycjn says: Aug 17, 2012 12:48 PM

    dallasstars9 says:
    Aug 16, 2012 5:11 PM
    No – he was suspended for something worse than cheating. As far as I’m concerned he should have a lifetime ban from the NFL!
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    Who cares what concerns you???? Here’s a quarter – call someone that cares, it’s
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