By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Every time an NFL team is being investigated for some kind of wrongdoing, the comparisons to the Patriots are inevitable. Roll your eyes at Patriots fans all you want - if you take an alleged transgression anywhere else in the country and apply it to Foxboro, the reaction from both the league and the general public would be much stronger and filled with hysteria. That's just the truth.
So despite the disturbing nature of the league's latest controversy involving the Saints and alleged sexual abuse in the New Orleans Roman Catholic archdiocese, it's hard not to wonder what it would look like if it were the Patriots fighting to keep private emails from going public. The Saints are actively trying to block the release of emails in which their PR team allegedly advised the archdiocese on damage control amid accusations of clergymen abusing children.
Seems like an easy decision for the National Football League to open an investigation, right? Apparently not. David Kaplan of The Athletic reports that the league is not currently investigating the Saints and won't do so unless the emails in question "show troublesome actions."
Not even going to pretend to investigate it, huh.
There is, to be fair, not much to investigate yet. The emails aren't public and the league couldn't access them before they become admitted to the case. But still, there are obvious parallels to how the league handled DeflateGate. Roger Goodell and the league did not need to see Tom Brady's private texts in order to presume he violated league rules regarding football air pressure. Brady destroying his phone was enough evidence for them to suspend him four games.
So how exactly does it look for the Saints right now? While they have a legal right to fight against the public release of the emails, the optics of it are poor. And the league has already shown it is willing to punish a team and/or player without all of the private conversations being released. If the league said it would investigate the Saints and the team continued to try and conceal the emails, wouldn't that constitute non-cooperation with an investigation? If the emails come out and they do "show troublesome actions," would the league act?
It sure seems like it would be in the best interests of the NFL to at least leave open the possibility of an investigation into the Saints, even if it's not opened immediately. To hit us with the ol' "Nothing to see here" on emails relating to something as disturbing as alleged child molestation is, at best, a horrible look in the public eye. It reeks of a league office that doesn't even want to know what those emails contain.
Not to mention ... Goodell said on Wednesday that the league is still investigating the Patriots' illegal videotaping of the Bengals with no end in sight.
And of course, as always, just imagine what it would look like if the story were taking place in New England. Nobody cares about what's going on in New Orleans, not even with priests being credibly accused of abuse.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].