Handwerger: No harm in Payton trying an appeal

Handwerger: No harm in Payton trying an appeal

Handwerger: No harm in Payton trying an appeal

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 30, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

Opinion/Analysis

That Sean Payton will appeal his suspension isn’t surprising.

Neither is the same decision for general manager Mickey Loomis and linebackers coach Joe Vitt.

After all, who wouldn’t take a last-ditch effort to reduce penalties – severe ones, at that – regardless of who is hearing the appeal?

The question is this – why now? Why on Friday, two days before H Hour?

Payton’s suspension was set to begin on April 1 and last until after the Super Bowl. Loomis and Vitt’s suspensions weren’t supposed to begin until the first week of the regular season and besides, they’re not suspended for the season, just eight and six games, respectively.

It’s Payton’s appeal that matters most for the franchise, though.

By taking the full time to appeal, he would have bought at least an extra two days to get his ducks in a row, to tidy up the Saints’ offseason plans without him.

When you’re dealing with a suspension that will run roughly 306 days, why not take every day, every minute, every second of freedom you can get?

There’s sentiment out there that Payton should have kept his appeal in his back pocket, left it out there unused like a red challenge flag on a perfectly-officiated day.

By doing that, he would have shown contrition and humility and given NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a reason to reduce his suspension at a later date upon revisiting the penalty.

It’s a fair and valid point, too.

It’s the small things in this world that, when piled upon each other, help change people’s minds.

Payton already spoke for nearly 17 minutes Tuesday from the owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. While he never said he was sorry, he accepted responsibility for the pay-for-performance program and showed the severity of the penalty had hit him.

But I’m not sure in this case it makes a difference.

Humbled or newly contrite or neither, Payton will have a hard time convincing Goodell, who from his perch atop the NFL kingdom controls the levying of suspensions and the appeal, to change things.

Still, there’s no foul in appealing now and hitting the commish up again in, say, October. What’s the worst Goodell can say either now or later? Payton already is suspended for 10 months.

In the end, it’s highly unlikely Goodell, the man who handed down the suspension, will budge and reduce the time.

At least they can say they tried this avenue, even if the timing is suspect.

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