Now more than a half-decade removed from the entire Bountygate scandal that plagued the New Orleans Saints, head coach Sean Payton is opening up about it.
Payton himself was suspended for the entire 2012 NFL season after the league found him to be responsible for leading an organization that was putting a bounty on the heads of opposing players.
In an interview on “In Depth with Graham Bensinger,” Payton offers up the belief that the NFL actually tried to get him fired because of the scandal.
“When you say a year and you’re not able to talk to any coach and you’re not able to talk to any other player and you know that the league office actually contacted two other owners to talk to Mr. Benson about finding a way to have you fired,” Payton said. “Like, they are trying to break you.”
Payton also offered a rebuke of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Look it’s one of the weaknesses of our commissioner: There’s too much emotion,” the head coach continued. “When the penalties came down it was just, it was foolish.”
In addition to seeing Payton suspended for an entire season, the Saints forfeited multiple high-round picks and had to pay a $500,000 fine.
To be clear, this entire drama was a black eye for the entire Saints’ organization as well as the NFL.
The most notorious aspect of this was when then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams told his players to injure 49ers opponents ahead of the 2011 NFL Divisional Playoffs. That led to further investigations and findings that Bountygate did in fact exist.
For his part, Payton had already taken blame for being head coach at the time. He’s now placing some of the blame at the foot of the NFL. That’s obviously not going to go over well in the league’s New York City office.