The P.R.-obsessed NFL is still susceptible to bad optics.
Jay Glazer of FOX reports that former Saints employee Mike Cerullo has been hired by the league office. He’s a director of football administration, working in the department that will be responsible for determining the discipline to be imposed, if any, on Saints coach Sean Payton for his interactions with officials on Thursday night.
Former Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma outed Cerullo as a disgruntled former employee of the Saints, a theme that continued throughout the legal drama that emerged in the aftermath of the allegation that the Saints gave players a financial incentive to inflict injury on opponents. The league said he should be “commended” for coming forward.
Some will now say that he’s actually been rewarded, five years later, for helping the NFL with its effort to punish the Saints for (in my view) a trumped-up charge without (in former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s view) considering broader cultural realities, including for example the fact that plenty of other teams were giving players a little extra money for doing that which they already had a natural incentive to do — render opponents incapable of continuing via the application of clean, legal hits.