Portrait of the Saints: Vitt, Loomis, Smith, Star Wars and Starry Nights
  // Tuesday, 24 April 2012 18:07 //

starry-nightLess than two days from the start of the NFL draft, that process which the New Orleans Saints will not begin to restock its players until the third round due to the Bountygate escapades, more claims and defenses have surfaced in one of the most dizzying and bizarre off-seasons in NFL history.

Commish Goodell said today that punishment was coming soon but did not say when. Nor did he say or ever say the who, how, which, where or how much any of the Saints players engaged in intentionally hurting another NFL player. Let’s hope Goodell presents hard, cold evidence as to what players were involved and details and not just allegations such as the one lodged by ESPN yesterday claiming that Mickey Loomis engaged in wiretapping.

The Louisiana State Police announced today that it was joining the investigation with the FBI of the allegations made by ESPN. That is fine, but, hopefully they provide a lot more documentation as to the “real facts” and not just hersay that might not even be admissible in court.

Such as statements as the one by Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith who according to NFL.com, wasn't surprised at all when the New Orleans Saints' bounty program came to light this offseason. The longtime NFC South rival said he's "always known" Gregg Williams' defenses try to hurt opposing players.

"I actually had an altercation with a guy who told me firsthand," Smith said Tuesday on NFL.com's "Dave Dameshek Football Program," although he didn't name the Saints player. "I was going out of bounds, and the guy went for my ankle. I said, 'Hey, man, cut that out.' He's like, 'Well, we get fined if we don't go after your legs when you go out of bounds.' ... And actually this past year, this last game when we played them, I had a little conversation with Gregg Williams. ... He took responsibility, he was saying it wasn't right, but that's who he was."

Well, Joe Vitt, the suspended Saint coach who will be heading the team in substitution for head coach Sean Payton (also suspended), had javascript:;this to say today about the players and Bountygate:

"At no time did any of our players ever cross the white line to intentionally hurt another player," Vitt told reporters during a pre-draft news conference.

Vitt called Monday's allegation that Loomis eavesdropped on opposition coaches' radio chatter during games, "absolutely ludicrous."
And on the matter of Mickey Loomis’s eavesdropping escapade, Vitt said, "That's something from 'Star Wars,'" he said. "It's irresponsible. Mickey Loomis has amazing credibility."

Whether ESPN or Goodell has any hard proof for the claims made and the harm they done to the New Orleans Saints and the City of New Orleans remains to be seen. So far, as it relates to the players and bountygate and to Loomis and Loomisgate, their claims are simply wars on Saints; stars and are as imaginative and colorful as Van Gogh’s “starry night”.

stephen-sabludowskyby Stephen Sabludowsky

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