clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Saints fans are still suing the NFL because nobody knows controversy like Louisiana

New, comments

The blown call is nothing compared to other stuff in the state’s history.

The start of the 2019 NFL season is just around the corner, but some New Orleans Saints fans still can’t get over the missed pass interference penalty that defined January’s NFC Championship Game and cost the team a shot at the Super Bowl. A judge last week rejected the third federal lawsuit brought against the NFL by disgruntled Saints fans, but the quest for justice continues at the state level following a Louisiana judge’s order that commissioner Roger Goodell and three game officials be questioned under oath.

It might be a feel-good moment for Saints fans to try to stick it to the NFL, but it’s also a stunning misallocation of resources for the state of Louisiana to continue hearing a show case against the league. The state is in the middle of a budget crisis with an estimated $1.6 billion deficit in 2019 predicted to balloon to $1.9 billion by the end of fiscal year 2020. That said, at least the state government has its priorities in check judging from the “bad news” section of this budget presentation.

When it comes to controversy, suing the NFL is chump change in the grand scheme of Louisiana history. If I were to sit here and give you a play-by-play of the state’s track record of corruption we’d be here until 2025 — but the Cliff’s Notes version is still pretty darn impressive.

Huey Long

As Louisiana’s 40th governor and later a U.S. Senator, Long’s political influence spread far and wide until his assassination in 1935. But “The Kingfish” still found a way to rule the state with an iron fist. At least, depending on who you ask.

Positioning himself as a social reform populist, Long built a platform on helping the poor and impoverished. The power this gave him manifested during his time in the Senate when he was routinely flanked by armed bodyguards as he issued down mandates to the state legislature. Anyone who resisted was fired, and Long’s tenure was viewed as a dictatorship by some, with others saying he was truly trying to clean up the state.

It’s been posited had Long not been assassinated, he could have ridden a wave of populism all the way to the White House, which could have drastically changed the future of the United States.

Louisiana being Louisiana, the story doesn’t end with Long’s death. After he was out of office, corruption spiked to incredible levels. This, from HueyLong.com:

”Hundreds of government officials and businessmen were implicated in wrongdoing, and many were indicted. Millions in state funds were stolen. Ultimately, seven people were imprisoned including Governor Richard Leche, who served five years in federal prison for taking kickbacks on state purchases, and LSU president Dr. James Monroe Smith, who gambled away school money.”

Edwin Edwards

This one is great. Edwards was pretty much your bog-standard corrupt politician. You’ve heard this story before: Kickbacks, pay for play — eventually it all caught up and after he was indicted for accepting bribes amounting well over $1 million. His trial also resulted in charges against former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., who paid Edwards a $400,000 bribe in exchange for a riverboat gambling license.

Edwards went to prison for nine years.

In 2015, 30 percent of Louisianians said in a poll that Edwards was still the state’s best governor since 1980.

David Vitter

Vitter, a U.S. Senator, was embroiled in the infamous “D.C. Madam” scandal in 2007 for solicitation and use of a high-profile prostitution service in the nation’s capitol.

Despite the scandal, the people of Louisiana still voted for Vitter, and he remained a senator until 2017. Vitter sought to leave the Senate and become Louisiana’s governor in 2015, but was unsuccessful after a local TV reporter asked him about his history with prostitution before being fired by his station.

It was later revealed Vitter threatened to pull campaign ads from the station due to the question. These incidents were jumped on by opponent John Bel Edwards, who ran a successful series of ads against Vitter and went on to win election.

Ray Nagin

Nagin, a former New Orleans mayor, was imprisoned for corruption in 2014 after it was revealed he accepted $500,000 in bribes in exchange for awarding millions of dollars of government contracts to businessmen.

What does this all mean?

Maybe Louisiana is onto something with this case with the NFL. If anyone knows anything about wrongdoing, it’s them. You could even say they know a thing or two about people getting things wrong due to ... past interference.

Sorry.

UPDATE

The NFL filed an appeal to block the latest court case against the league and found some (somewhat expected) help from the New Orleans Saints themselves.