Saints fans shocked, upset over penalties against Payton, team

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - News of the Saints' punishment sent shock waves across the Who Dat Nation Wednesday. Fans of the black and gold had plenty of opinions about the NFL's disciplinary action against Coach Sean Payton and what this will mean to the season and the team's future.

WLOX asked some fans at Skeeter's Billiards in Gulfport: Were the Saints' penalties fair or just too harsh?

"Give me a break. We've suffered enough," said Catherine Donahue.

She sounded like one angry Saints fan. Donahue felt blind sided by the NFL's decision to suspend New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season.

"I think it's extremely excessive," said Donahue. "I think other teams have come out to say everyone knows that it's done, and it's just ridiculous that we have to be the poster child for this. I mean, an entire year's suspension is ridiculous."

Several other fans agreed, saying the NFL is targeting the wrong man.

"I thought just the defensive coaches would be the ones that would be fined, because everybody knew they were behind it. But I didn't think that Sean Payton would be behind it," said Karen Holland.

"I was shocked. I was speechless," said Gabbie Ledet. "I couldn't believe that they would actually punish the head coach of all people. The defensive side did what they did and they should have suffered for it rather than Sean Payton."

Ron Barnard had a very different view of the bounty hits.

"They need to get their act together and realize that in today's market, you cannot indulge in, especially when you physically hurt somebody deliberately. That's not acceptable anymore," said Barnard.

And regarding the punishment against the team, he said: "It's harsh, but justified. And I'm happy to hear that the owners of the institution are going to have to pay it too instead of passing it down."

Despite their differences, fans agreed that there's a lot of uncertainty about the team's game plan this season.

"It's going to hurt their play this year and it's also going to hinge on what Drew Brees does," said Barnard. "If they lose Drew Brees, then they got real problems."

"There's going to be long-term consequences," said Donahue. "I have no idea who they're going to get to take over. I just don't know."

Ledet had a more optimistic view, saying: "Now we'll have to take the good with the bad, and hopefully, we'll come out on top this year."

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