Sean Payton Doesn't Want To Do 'Hard Knocks' Because He Swore He'd Never Be Videotaped Releasing A Player
The Advocate- The Saints could end up being featured on ‘Hard Knocks’ during training camp, whether they like it or not.
And chances are they wouldn’t be too happy about it. Sean Payton joked that he would “put on his happy-face” if the team were selected for the show, then added, “Who are we kidding?”
That might not matter. New Orleans can be selected for the program because they did not make the playoffs the last two offseasons and have retained their head coach.
Payton’s biggest beef with the show, outside of the invasion of privacy, is that he made an ode at the beginning of his career.
“I’ll never be videotaped releasing a player,” Payton said.
That might be an issue since the show typically builds up to player releases each season.
Okay, so I think I'll take a step down from my pedestal for this one. I would love to sit here and tell you I am some morally superior person that derives absolutely no pleasure from the misfortune of others, but that would be nothing more than a fabrication. The fact is that I have probably watched every single segment in which a person was released during 'Hard Knocks'. Honestly, if the show was nothing more than a compilation of players candidly being cut I would still tune in. Does that make me a sadist? You're goddamn right it does, but I don't think I am going out on that far of a limb when I saw that I am far from the only one that finds public firings oddly intriguing.
With that said, I am self aware enough to admit that it's kind of fucked up. Like him or not, Sean Payton actually makes a pretty compelling point here. Football is a cutthroat business but, at the end of the day, coaches are supposed to take into account the physical and mental well being of their players. As if telling a guy his services are no longer needed wasn't depression inducing enough without a nationwide audience watching. I understand that professional athletes are compensated generously for their work and have to deal with situations that the average person would never have to worry about. However, the guys that are having their dreams shattered into a million pieces - while you drink your beer and scratch your balls - aren't the guys making $60 million guaranteed. They are the guys that battled tooth and nail, day in and day out, against some of the most athletically gifted specimens known to man, just to be casually dismissed. They are the guys getting one paycheck and being told they may never get another chance to play professional football. I can't blame Sean Payton for not wanting to broadcast their agony. They are basically getting stabbed in the heart on cable television while the entire sports world intently watches their pride bleed out as they die a slow, slow death. It's like the NFL equivalent of 'Untraceable' except the victims never truly get put out of their misery. I'm not saying that Sean Payton is some kind of saint (no pun intended). He certainly has his own selfish reasons for not wanting to be a part of 'Hard Knocks'. They may, or may not, stem from an ongoing vendetta against the league for how they portrayed him during the 'BountyGate' publicity stunt. Still, you can't tell me that his steadfast belief in not devastating the lives of vulnerable young adults on camera doesn't hold merit.
Luckily, the last thing that Sean Payton has to worry about is the Saints being forced to host 'Hard Knocks'. Not because it wouldn't be interesting, but because it would be like pulling teeth. We are talking about a coach that has such a contentious relationship with the media that he refuses to acquiesce with their request to send players onto the field for postgame interviews following Thursday Night Football. He would be harder to work with than Mel Gibson after a couple glasses of scotch, and I genuinely don't think the NFL Network would put their camera men through that. Trying to slip a final cut past Sean Payton would be like trying to get Kanye to sign off on a documentary where he does anything other than stare blankly at the camera with a furrowed brow. It would be like trying to mutually agree with a teenage girl as to which selfie she should make public, and what filter she should use. Sean Payton's director's cut would just be a guy standing 300 yards away videotaping practice through a chainlink fence for a month. God bless the NFL Network if they decide to come to New Orleans Saints training camp, because Sean Payton will without question make their job more exasperating than the player's.
P.S. Full disclosure: I had the biggest smile on my face while searching for pictures for this post. Welcome back Coach, can't wait to see you get back to work.