The NFL has announced that Saints head coach Sean Payton has officially been reinstated and can join the team immediately.
Payton’s initial suspension was to last until after the Super Bowl, but commissioner Roger Goodell was willing to reduce it based on Payton’s good behavior.
“Sean fully complied with all the requirements imposed on him during his suspension,” said Goodell in a statement. “More important, it is clear that Sean understands and accepts his responsibilities as a head coach and the vital role that coaches play in promoting player safety and setting an example for how the game should be played at all levels. We are committed to delivering football that fans love and the safety players deserve. Coach Payton agrees and I look forward to working with him going forward to do that.”
While Goodell would like to frame this as an act of forgiveness for Payton’s compliance with his ruling, this decision seems more like a PR ploy than anything else. The Bowl is a little less than two weeks away and it just happens to be hosted in the city of New Orleans. Goodell’s decision could be designed as an attempt to mitigate the vitriol that he’s likely to face in the coming days.
Sean Payton and the Saints also released a statement of his own on Tuesday.
“I am thankful today Commissioner [Roger] Goodell has granted me reinstatement,” the statement sent out by the Saints read. “As I stated back in March, I, along with Mickey Loomis, take full responsibility for all aspects of our football program. “I clearly recognize that mistakes were made, which led to league violations.”
Payton recently signed a five-year deal to remain the Saints head coach and is permitted to attend this week’s Senior Bowl on behalf of the team. Thankfully, the bounty gate scandal is finally coming to an end.