D-Day for Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis is Thursday. They will pitch their case to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to lower their suspensions. That argument will probably fall on deaf ears; however one argument should be made to the Commissioner.
This argument is more important than whether the New Orleans Saints will be without their coach and General Manager for some time. Goodell not only issued suspensions and took away draft picks; he fined the Saints organization $500,000. Where does that money go?
Does it go to the league and the owners, just to use for a huge picnic at the end of the season like the common joke always states? No. According to reports, the NFL tells the party that is fined where to send the check. Usually it goes to a notable charity, such as the Red Cross or the Cancer Society.
Sometimes it will go to the charity that is closest to the violation. There is no confirmation, however it is believed when Bret Favre was fined for his alleged sexual harassment of a New York Jets office worker, his $50,000 was earmarked for women’s rights groups. And that is what should happen now.
Goodell has not endeared himself to retired players and their injury plight. They have no health insurance and are suffering from some debilitating injuries. Most of these injuries are for life and they cannot get help.
Goodell had a chance during the lockout last year to make an impression on former players and help their situation. What he did was turn his back on them. He walked out and never gave them any substance. That was the wrong move.
Now the players are filing lawsuits against the league. One thing Goodell could do right now is to take the fine money for injury “bounties” and give it to the fund for these retired players that need it. That is where it belongs.
Will $500,000 help everyone? Absolutely Not! It won’t even make a dent. But it will provide good will to this entity and that is what Goodell needs right now. He needs to let these retirees know he understands and will do what he can to make things right.
This money could also prove he is really concerned about player safety. Something he is making his tenure as Commissioner about. He wants to tame down heavy hitting and still keep the league’s revenues at an all time high. That is a tough thing to do.
But turning over money produced because of illegal hitting to retired players with long-term injuries would be a good first step.