Added by Pat Williams on March 26, 2012
There is a new campaign under way by fans of the New Orleans Saints and fans of the NFL in general who are wishing to show solidarity, which may lead to a boycott of Super Bowl XLVII.
After the one year suspension of Saints Head Coach Sean Payton by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the fans were prompted to act.
Although the campaign is still very much in it’s infancy, it was attracted a lot of early support, and as word spreads the organizers are confident that their campaign is sufficiently justified enough that most decent thinking NFL fans will back them.
The website only launched on the 22nd of March, and within 12 hours had around six hundred signatures and had over two thousand two hundred page views. Which is phenomenal rate of growth for a new website. This influx of early support was largely due to social media.
Many of the fans feel that Sean Payton is being made a scapegoat. There is a large amount of anecdotal evidence from players in the NFL that suggests that bounty programs for taking opposing players out of the game had been in existence for some time NFL wide, since at least 1987.
Commissioner Roger Goodell used the most draconian punishment ever meted out to a modern day NFL Head Coach when he suspended Sean Payton, the justification Roger Goodell used for this was that he was particularly angered that Sean Payton and other Saints officials had lied about the bounty scheme when confronted with the allegations. However, Roger Goodell later stated that had the Saints been upfront and more forthcoming about the scheme, they, and Payton in particular would still have faced significant action.
What fans of the Saints feel aggrieved about the most is that whether or not they agree with the bounty payments scheme, is the fact that it is believed to be an NFL wide scandal, but only one team and one Head Coach has faced sanctions for the offense.
Saints fans believe that should punishment be meted out, it should be fair, proportionate and NFL wide. If evidence exists that this is a league wide problem, rather than just a team problem, then the NFL should instigate a league wide investigation, rather than making just one Head Coach or one team the villains.
Many fans don’t think that bounty payments to take other players out of the game is an offense justifying punishment. Football is after all a violent sport. It may be played with a ball and the goal is to get a touch down, but almost everything else in between involves contact between the players. A tackle is by it’s very nature a violent act. For this reason many fans of football feel they are justified in promoting a boycott of Super Bowl XLVII. The NFL is quick to punish what is judged to be illegal hits, yet sell DVDs and posters promoting these hits. If the NFL wants to reduce the violence on the field, why do they celebrate it?
New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was caught cheating in what many consider to be a far worse offense, but was only handed down a $500,000 fine. He taped opposing players talking about tactics, in a highly tactical game such as football, this is almost like a chess player knowing his opponent’s moves in advance. Whilst what Sean Payton did may be questionable in some people’s eyes, it certainly wasn’t cheating. What Bill Belichick did was out and out cheating. It looks to many fans as if the Commissioner Roger Goodell has teams and people he favors more than others when it comes to handing out punishment. One of the justifications for the light punishment of Belichick was that it was the harshest sentence that could be handed out, yet Payton was punished far more severely.
The petition itself contains a message detailing why the fans feel the way they do and why they will be promoting that others boycott Super Bowl XLVII. They have addressed Roger Goodell himself within the text of the petition and outlined the reasons why they feel aggrieved. For each digital signature that is collected an e-mail is automatically generated and sent to Commissioner Goodell at firstname.lastname@example.org
While the support for a boycott at the moment is still in it’s infancy, Roger Goodell would be wise to heed the advice of the petition if he wishes to avoid seeing many fans boycott Super Bowl XLVII.
The petition drive is being conducted at http://www.boycottsuperbowl47.com/petition/ and signatures can be viewed at http://www.boycottsuperbowl47.com/petition-signatures/