Paging Dr. Miracle Max? I mean really, all hope is lost. This is the end of the world sports fans. Lockout: Armageddon edition. Yes, the two sides in the NFL labor dispute have been careening in this direction for weeks now, and we fans are the ones who will end up suffering. What little hope remains can only be found in the consideration of the idea that perhaps the season is only mostly dead at this point, which is still a little alive. And there's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead, which should cheer all of us up at least a little, because once a season is all dead, there's only one thing you can do. Look through its pockets for loose change, and meet me after the jump for another round of Saints and Sinners.
Note: The way this works is sort of a "Who's hot, who's not" list as it relates to (primarily) the Saints, (secondly) the League®, and (lastly) the world outside. Participation is ESSENTIAL here, so feel free to add your own Saints and Sinners in the comments section below!
Let's face some facts here. It's been a rough week. But these folks have done the right thing, and they deserve to be mentioned.
- Tom Benson: Yeah, you read that right, and no, I haven't been paid to say this (Though I'm sure we can work out some sort of deal, Mr. Benson. I am NOT above bribery). But amidst all the discussions of labor discussions it's easy to forget the work that folks in the Saints organization do for the community-at-large, and we shouldn't let those instances get by without the appropriate credit being given where it is due. Earlier this week, Mr. Benson, a long-time supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, hosted over 100 Boy Scouts at the Saints practice facility in Metairie. This has become an annual tradition for Mr. Benson and the Saints. I guess it's pretty fortunate that this year's trip was scheduled for the day before the lockout began in earnest. I mean, imagine the scene of 100 Boy Scouts locked out of the Saints practice facility. Maybe the players missed a big chance for a media win there.
- Heath Evans: True, this guy was one of my Sinners last week, but later this week Heath will be hosting his annual Offense vs. Defense softball game to raise money for his own Heath Evans Foundation to prevent child abuse. This is truly a worthy cause and if anyone has some free time on the 17th I would definitely hope you'd consider spending the evening watching our favorite Saints give their time for a great event.
- All of the Aid and Relief Workers in Japan: As I said in my first Saints and Sinners, this weekly column is not one that intends to focus SOLELY on Saints football. When there is an event in the real world as catastrophic as the earthquake and resultant tsunami that both hit Japan earlier this week, it deserves to be mentioned here. As a community of sports fans, it is very often the case that the only thing we may have in common with each other is our shared admiration of a particular NFL team, but whatever political, philosophical or ideological differences we may have, I trust that we can all recognize the magnitude of pain and suffering that people in Japan are feeling right now, and together send our hearts and minds out to all of them including our own Just 'Nother Day who lives in Okinawa. So this is us in our own tiny way saying thanks to all those who are doing everything they can to help out in Japan. We've got your back.
The Sinners this week are legion, as the world of football was tuned on its collective head following the decision by the NFLPA to decertify and the owners to lockout the players, so lets just assume that everyone involved was a sinner for this week and we can all save that debate for other posts. But there were those who qualified as Sinners this week based solely on their own merits, and who might have killed Domingo Montoya.
- Travis Jones: I'm sure many of you are wondering just who Travis Jones is. Fair enough. Travis Jones is the Saints defensive line coach who was just sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and ordered to repay over a million dollars in restitution for his involvement in a real estate scam he helped perpetrate in northwest Texas. Seriously? Seriously. What exactly is Mr. Jones' excuse? He was forced into a life of crime because he lost a battle of wits with a Sicilian (Actually, I don't doubt the losing a battle of wits part)?
- People Who Try To Make Me Choose Sides in the Labor Dispute: I can't even begin to tell you the number of polls I've been asked to vote in asking me which side am I on in the NFL Labor Dispute, and it never fails that my only two choices are the players and the owners. What kind of baloney is that? I'm on MY side, the side of the fans. Mass media outlets would do well to remember that without fans there is no NFL, no ticket sales, no ad revenue, no profit. Both sides party to the debate have had their lists of demands, well here (if I can be so presumptuous to speak for all fans) is our demand: Start making football happen again, or become the NHL. Either way, it's no skin off my nose.