LA state legislature urges NFL to reconsider Saints’ penalties

Taylor Bigler Entertainment Editor
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It seems that everyone in the Louisiana state legislature is a Saints fan.

After the National Football League imposed crippling sanctions against the New Orleans Saints for instituting a “bounty” program — where defensive players received money from a slush fund to take out members of opposing teams — the state is taking legislative action against the league.

A House concurrent resolution, which urges the NFL to reconsider the penalties against the Saints, flew through the Committee on Senate and Governmental Affairs without objection, and will now head to the full Senate for a vote, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

Republican Rep. Cameron Henry, who represents parts of New Orleans, filed the resolution that pleads the NFL to reconsider the penalties. It reads: “[The] New Orleans Saints have produced countless exciting and magical moments for the city of New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, the Gulf Coast region, and the entire country.”

The resolution suggests that “the sanctions faced by the team will likely have a negative economic impact across the Crescent City and the state as a whole” and that “there is widespread public opinion throughout the state of Louisiana and beyond that the penalties imposed upon the Saints are too harsh and should be reconsidered.”

The severe penalties include the year-long suspension of head coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season, a $500,000 fine for the team, and the loss of second-round draft picks for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. General Manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for eight games, and assistant coach Joe Vitt has been suspended for six games.

The plea from the state comes on the heels of the appeal by the Saints to the NFL to reconsider the penalties.

But a transcript of damning audio recordings released Tuesday shed light on the competitive nature of the Saints’ defense. In a recording, former defensive coach Gregg Williams reportedly tells his team to knock out San Francisco 49ers players before a playoff game, ESPN reports.

Williams said about quarterback Alex Smith: “Go get it. Go lay that motherfucker out.” He also told players to focus on running back Frank Gore, “We’ve got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill Frank Gore’s head. We want him running sideways. We want his head sideways.”

The recordings come at a bad time for the Saints, who are appealing the penalties in front of the NFL commissioners this week.

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