saints (n.) - NFL franchise presently based in New Orleans; boondoggle (n.) - an unnecessary or wasteful project or activity; saintsdoggle (n.) - the Saints' potential relocation situation in New Orleans, and the resulting boondoggle by Louisiana to keep the team from leaving

Friday, November 04, 2005

Benson 'outraged' at Tagliabue for role in Saints' future; Finney asks Benson to sell; Email claims refuted; Benson labeled 'Big Sleazy'

The San Antonio Express-News today quotes Saints insider sources to report that Tom Benson is "outraged" by NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue's intervention in the Saints' future.

As a result, Benson has been "hardened" in his quest for relocation of the franchise.

In spite of Tagliabue's recent statement that relocation discussions between franchises and cities are off-limits during a season, negotiations have continued with San Antonio, including talks about leasing office space for team officials.

Also, a Benson attorney will meet with Louisiana Superdome officials today to discuss extending the force majeure invocation deadline into late December. If the contract's force majeure provision is invoked by Benson, it could mean he could take the Saints and leave Louisiana without paying any penalty.

In spite of whatever is said about this, it likely would be done for the sole reason of maintaining ticket sales for remaining games in Tiger Stadium, as the article maintains that Benson still plans on utilizing the force majeure provision at some point.

Tagliabue can be none too pleased with this latest news, especially the part about Benson's "outrage" with him. Benson interestingly continues to have no problem with turning his nose up at the NFL chief.

Today's revelations are almost the equivalent to a full mooning of Tags by Tommy Boy.

(Should we expect much less from a man who has acted like a scolded child?)

One respected columnist from the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Peter Finney, is calling for Tagliabue to help facilitate removal of Benson. Finney also openly implores Benson to sell the team that has made him so wealthy, for the best interests of New Orleans.

Finney firmly states, "If Tom Benson loves his city, and loves his state, he should step aside."

We can only hope for such a blessing.

He further points out that, in his eyes, Benson has "poisoned the waters beyond repair" in terms of keeping the team under his ownership in New Orleans.

No doubt today's "outrage" news doesn't help.

Finney also notes that Benson is trying to abandon New Orleans after it suffered, in Tagliabue's words, "an unprecedented national catastrophe," and that Tagliabue knows that Benson's email "was so much nonsense."

As for that, those who either witnessed or have close knowledge of Benson's claimed life-threatening departure from Tiger Stadium are calling Benson's bluff. Check out this terrific piece by the Shreveport Times' Glenn Guilbeau entitled, "LSU, anchor refute Benson's comments."

It describes how LSU officials were told by the team that it had no issues with security at Sunday's game.

It goes further to quote WWL-TV sports anchor Lee Zurik, who witnessed the now-infamous Benson camera-attack incident, as saying:
"Certainly there were people yelling at him, but he wasn't in any danger. None of the fans got within 10 feet of him and the bodyguards were between the fans and Benson. We stayed 10 feet away from him until he came after the camera."
(And that guy who looked like Michael Chiklis of The Shield that kept his hand on the camera lense after Benson shoved it? Apparently that was Benson's grandson. Just thought that was interesting.)

Speaking of the Benson camera attack, as this site asserted shortly after that incident, perhaps Benson's showing of "outrage" culminating with the attack, and Tagliabue's commitment to Louisiana, were related...

At any rate, for all that Benson has done (and failed to do), he has earned the nickname "The Big Sleazy" by John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News.

Ryan's story even contains the following note: "We provide these regularly scheduled Tom Benson updates to remind Bay Area fans that, when you think your team's ownership can't get any worse, it can."

It would be hilarious, if it weren't so painfully true.


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