Bounty sanctions raise questions about fan lawsuits

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 22, 2012 at 5:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 22 at 6:01 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS -- Many black and gold fans say debate about the Bountygate sanctions should move from the court of public opinion to a court of law.

Saints fans who pay big bucks for season tickets say they have a cause of action against the NFL's brand of justice.

Some say head coach Sean Payton's year-long suspension, fines and lost draft choices in the wake of the payments for performance scandal are excessive, arbitrary and capricious.

"I think it's necessary that the fans start to voice their opinion, and the only way I know to do it, is to develop a class-action lawsuit," said Dave Pippin, a Saints season ticket-holder from Lake Vista.

"It seems like Mr. Goodell, right now is acting as judge, jury and executioner," said Sheila Pippin, a self-professed sports junkie. "We have no right of appeal."

The Pippins are life-long Saints fans. They say if there's a lawsuit against the NFL, sign them up.

"Nobody in the history of the NFL has received such hard sanctions," said Sheila Pippin. "He wants to make us an example. But, we're a scapegoat."

"If this is allowed to stand, there's going to be a lot of sadness with the fans because the Saints aren't allowed to compete," said Dave Pippin.

New Orleans attorney Scott Shea would also like to take the league to court.

"Trust me, I wrote a check, a pretty decent check last week for my season tickets," said Shea. "I understand the frustration that my season tickets are now worth less. That's something that the NFL has arbitrarily done."

It's one thing to file a lawsuit against the league. But, to actually win in court or somehow get the NFL to reduce it's bounty-gate punishment is another story.

"I'm a Saints fan first and I think like that rather than as a lawyer," said Shea. "I just think legally, I don't see that fans are going to get very far with that argument."

But, some fans like the Pippins would like to try, if not to send the league a message, but as a show of support for their beloved Saints.

"Yes, we're guilty," said Sheila Pippin. "Yes, we deserve to be punished. Yes, we deserve fines. Yes, Sean Payton should pay a price. But, it shouldn't be a whole season."

 

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