It just keeps getting worse for the New Orleans Saints as the latest news seems to be far worse than their bounty scandal. ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” has reported Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device installed in his suite that was set up so he could listen in on opposing coaching staffs.
The sources familiar with the situation told “Outside the Lines” that Loomis was allegedly able to successfully eavesdrop on opponents from 2002-2004. Loomis’ first year as the general manager for New Orleans was 2002, and apparently his last will be exactly 10 years later. The Saints went 12-12 in those three seasons so it did not have as big of an effect on the NFL as it will with the federal government.
Anonymous sources brought this knowledge to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana last Friday. Jim Letten, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, confirmed to “Outside the Lines” that he had knowledge about the allegations but would not comment any further. This is clearly a violation of NFL rules, but more importantly, it is a highly illegal activity. In the United States, we as citizens have the right to privacy and what Loomis did was an invasion of that. To get more technical, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986 prohibits any person from intercepting communications from another person using an electronic or mechanical device.
Apparently, the device was installed in the general manager’s suite in 2000 as Randy Mueller, the general manager before Loomis, had it put together so he could listen in on Saints coaches during the game but never had the ability to eavesdrop on opposing coaches. Loomis was the one who had the device re-wired so it would have the opposite effect.
The Saints and vice president of communications Greg Bensel have already come out and stated: “This is 1,000 percent false. This is 1,000 percent inaccurate.” Either way, this will result in a heavy investigation by the NFL and the federal government. It should also be noted the NFL has yet to be officially informed about the allegations.
If the Saints can prove this is a false accusation then the public relations department can breathe easy and go back to fixing their image after the bounty scandal. However, if Loomis is found guilty then New Orleans will have to deal with two major scandals at once. Roger Goodell and the NFL will come down hard on everyone involved just like he did with New England Patriots and “Spygate.” To read about how this compares to Spygate please read a related article written by my colleague, Paul Troupe.
If the allegations are true, then this is extremely disappointing for a franchise that has received plenty of public support since Hurricane Katrina. Everyone, with the exception of Indianapolis Colts fans, was ecstatic when the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV. Now, the team’s management and coaching staff are ruining something that was supposed to be great, which is the legacy of the Saints.
For a general manager to make an obvious violation of the rules is irresponsible and pathetic. It is somewhat understandable to have a recording device to listen in on your own coaches, but to knowingly eavesdrop on opponents is ridiculous.
Hopefully, these allegations are false and the anonymous source got it wrong because it would be a shame for the NFL to have such obvious cheating taking place. I also hope they are untrue for the fans of the Saints, who have done nothing to deserve such a terrible offseason.