The first full day of the 2012 league meetings is in the books, and it included comments from the man at whose franchise Commissioner Roger Goodell threw the book last week.
Steve Wyche of NFL Network reports that Saints owner Tom Benson addressed his fellow owners about the bounty controversy, explaining that he didn’t know about the situation and stopping short of apologizing.
“He was disheartened about the situation,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay told Wyche. “He was very supportive of his people. His tone was great.”
But while the tone may have been great, it’s not so great to continue to blindly support men who, if the NFL’s conclusions are accurate, betrayed Benson’s trust in the worst way possible. According to the league, G.M. Mickey Loomis lied to Benson and failed to put an end to the bounty program and Saints coach Sean Payton failed to manage his staff and encouraged lying by telling his assistants to “get your ducks in a row” before the NFL investigated the situation in 2010.
The disconnect between Benson’s support and the behavior the league believes occurred continues to invite speculation that Loomis and/or Payton have covered for Benson. With Goodell explaining to the media on Monday that the lying has continued into the past several weeks, it’s hard not to wonder whether Benson actually knew about the bounties — and whether Loomis and Payton are taking the short-term fall in order to secure their long-term futures.