The Saints and New Orleans are engaged in a public battle of passive aggression that would make even Dinner Party Michael and Jan say, “This is awkward.”
The Saints have said they’ll play at LSU if New Orleans continues to refuse to let them play in the Superdome. On Thursday, New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell actually endorsed the possibility of the Saints relocating to Baton Rouge as soon as October 25 against Carolina, the Saints’ next home game.
“I think that that could be a great place temporarily,” Cantrell said Thursday, via Nola.com. “It is an outdoor stadium. They are allowing fans in the stadium, but right now, there is no way, given the current conditions, to allow 20,000 fans in the Superdome — an indoor stadium — when no one else is doing it in the United States of America, because it’s the right thing to do at this time.”
Some stadiums with retractable roofs are nevertheless allowing fans inside despite the roof being closed, a fact that Cantrell continues to navigate clumsily by attempting to focus only on “fixed-roof” structures. (It’s technically accurate, which passes for Washingtonian honesty in post-truth America.)
“As we continue to see progress in the city in terms of COVID-19, we will always be willing to and at the table with our Saints partners as it relates to fans,” Cantrell said. “We’re not there yet. When we get there, I’ll let you know. But it’s going to be working in coordination with the Saints administration as well as with our public health partners.”
The Saints obviously benefit from the presence of fans. Although they may not profit from a partially-filled house, they’re under pressure from fans, sponsors, and partners to try. Now that Cantrell has called their bluff, we’ll find out whether it is.