The Owner of the Saints Says Her Team Didn't Help the Catholic Church Hide Sex Abuse, But Still Won't Release Their Emails

As much as we can all agree that the NFL has a genius for messing up royally when it comes to scandals - treating the small ones like big ones and the actual big ones like they're nothing - I never thought I'd live to see they day the league would get implicated in the biggest, most horrifyingly terrible one of them all. And yet the Saints may have done exactly that. From a couple of weeks ago:

It's as if some low level Fascist dictatorship signed a treaty with some superpower Fascist dictatorship and found themselves involved in a war they never wanted any part of.

And yet the silence on this has been deafening. It's barely been talked about in the news. Not a world from the NFL itself. And nothing but a vague denial from the Saints. Until now. 

Source - The owner of the New Orleans Saints said Monday that the NFL team played no role in determining which priests would be named in the list of “credibly accused” clergy published by the area’s Roman Catholic Church. 

Gayle Benson, a devout Catholic who has donated millions of dollars to church causes, also said in a lengthy statement that she has never “contributed nor will ever make payments” to pay for legal settlements to the victims of clergy abuse.  …

The statement  marked Benson’s first remarks since The Associated Press reported last month about hundreds of confidential Saints emails that allegedly show team executives did behind-the-scenes public relations damage control amid the archdiocese’s clergy abuse crisis — communications the Saints have gone to court to keep from being made public. A hearing is scheduled in New Orleans next week to determine whether they may be released. 

Benson’s statement acknowledged that Greg Bensel, the Saints’ senior vice president of communications, helped the Archdiocese of New Orleans “prepare for the media” surrounding the November 2018 release of a list that named dozens of clergy members whom the church deemed “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children. 

Benson … said Bensel urged the church to be “honest, complete and transparent.” …

Attorneys for about two dozen men suing the church have painted a different picture of the team’s role, alleging in court filings that the confidential emails show executives joined in the church’s “pattern and practice of concealing its crimes. … [I]t is obvious that Gayle Marie Benson has not read the e-mails the Saints are hiding from the public, or even re-read her own e-mails. If she had read them, she could never have made some of the false claims asserted in her statement today.”

Here's the thing. I'm all about due process. I respect that everyone has the right to keep their private communications private. And it's easy to say, "If that was me, I'd turn my emails over to prove I'm innocent" when it's not your emails they're interested in.

But here's the truth: If that was me, I'd turn my emails over to prove I'm innocent. Hard stop. End of discussion. 

And do you know why I would? Why an normal Catholic would? Because those emails would read something along the lines of:

Dear Archdiocese,

What the actual FUCK?!? You've got dozens of clergy involved in abusing children? DOZENS??? You don't need my advice. You've got the only adviser you need. You talk about Him every Sunday. Just check that book you're always going on about. It's all in there. I've listened to the readings. But since you're asking, here goes: Confess. Come clean. Be honest. Admit responsibility. Name all the names. Cooperate with the police. And the victims. Do it five minutes ago. Pay the victims' families. You can't possibly make them whole but try to make their lives easier. Pay for the counseling they'll need. Do whatever you have to to make this happen. I've been to the Vatican. Sell off some of those gold candelabras or a some of those paintings in the Sistine if you have to. But for the love of God, make this shit stop and don't ever protect these  fucking monsters ever again. 

Do your damned jobs.

Jerry Thornton

It's the natural, human reaction. The fact that the Saints are fighting in court to keep their emails from seeing the light of day tells me theirs are anything but that. This isn't about some proprietary information from their scouting department that would hurt the team on the field. This is Saints lawyers talking to church lawyers about a matter that affects a lot of people. And as long at they keep them private, it's going to be fair to assume that they treated this situation just like the Boston Archdiocese did back in the day. Which is to treat child molestation like a job perk. The church barely survived that one. And I suppose I shouldn't be stunned that these coverups are still going on, but I am. Just not as stunned as I am that a fricking NFL team managed to get tied up in this. What a world.