The Saints have a bit of a public relations fiasco on their hands right now and there are no signs that it’s going to slow down.
The latest imbroglio could be the worst.
General manager Mickey Loomis allegedly had an electronic device set up to eavesdrop on opponents in his Superdome suite from 2002-04.
Here’s the thing – whether it’s true or not, it stings and the poison that has been released is pretty harmful.
In the court of public opinion, the Saints now are guilty before innocence is proven instead of the time-valued American tradition of innocent before proven guilty. Few know what to believe anymore so they just believe it’s all true.
And that’s not easy to overcome.
Not now, not in the days of the fast-moving internet with Twitter and Facebook granting instantaneous outlets for everyone to express their opinion.
New Orleans’ professional football heroes have gone from the country’s darlings after Hurricane Katrina to a group the nation today likely thinks of as deleterious divas.
In the past four months, every time you think the Saints have hit rock bottom, a new low emerges, Monday’s revelations only the latest in a cornucopia of bizarre scandals and player non-signings.
There is one positive – sort of – that could emerge.
The “us-against-the-world” mentality is overplayed in sports these days. For the most part, people as a whole don’t largely care enough one way or the other about a particular team for that to actually be true.
But this time, it just might be.
When there’s something to play for, there’s more focus. When there’s more focus, there’s better execution. And when there’s better execution, there are wins. For at least this offseason and part of the regular season, the Saints will play with largest of chips. As close as the Saints teams have been in the recent past, this one could be the closest.
Yet, at some point, the chip wears down.
Mentally and physically, it’s taxing to constantly think everyone is out to get you. Add to that a strenuous 16-game schedule with only one home back-to-back on it and the air could be let out of the bag by season’s end.
Which gets back to black eye the Saints have suffered this offseason. Should the Saints fade during the back half of the schedule, few NFL fans around the country likely will care, possibly even thinking the team got what it deserved.
Even if innocent and even if there’s more good than bad in the locker room.
The Saints are now that team.
Whether you like it or not, get used to it now.