Saints fans protest NFL's bounty penalties outside Superdome


Posted on April 1, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 2 at 6:55 AM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: | Twitter: @satchfield

NEW ORLEANS -- Several dozen Saints fans showed off their Who Dat spirit in the form of a protest Sunday over the NFL's harsh penalties against the franchise and its head coach, Sean Payton.

"It's just wrong what they doing to the coach," said one protester.

Wearing custom-designed t-shirts and carrying signs, protesters marched up the ramps outside the Superdome, while chanting, "Free Sean Payton!"

They said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell went too far in punishing Payton for his role in the Saints bounty program -- a scandal some fans believe is nothing new to the league.

"There's 32 teams in the league and everybody's done it, and as far as we're concerned, there's no reason to have this kind of a suspension for a head coach,” said Keith L’Hoste.

Jan Hankins agreed.

"We think the penalties are too harsh. So, I think Goodell needs to reconsider," she said.

The protesters were serious about their message, but it was also easy to see, they didn’t take themselves too seriously.

"They've all been basically peaceful folks. No nastiness or anything. It's all in good fun," said Lisa Cacioppo.

Will any of this make an impact in the NFL front office? Most likely not, protesters said.

But they said it feels good to stick up for their beloved team and coach.

"Wanted to come out and show support for our coach, show him what he means to us and the team and the city," said Masike Turner.