METAIRIE, La. -- Although many have compared and contrasted the New England Patriots' Deflategate punishments to the New Orleans Saints' Bountygate punishments over the past week, Saints coach Sean Payton isn't interested in joining the chorus.
"Listen, I knew that question was coming at some point," Payton said while addressing the media Saturday during New Orleans' rookie minicamp. "We went through a process three years ago, and I'm sure they're going through one right now. But other than that, our focus right now for me and our team is on what we're doing right now. We've got enough problems ourselves to solve. And that's what I'd say."
Payton could have ample reason to be critical of the league for not doling out any punishment to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Payton was suspended for a full season in 2012 even though the NFL never cited Payton as having any direct involvement with an alleged pay-for-injury scheme.
Although it's unclear if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell ever directly said the oft-referenced quote, "Ignorance is not an excuse," Goodell did make that point abundantly clear in his punishment of Payton and the Saints. He told ESPN's Adam Schefter after handing down Payton's suspension, "I hold head coaches accountable. ... Even if you aren't aware of something, you should be aware of something like that in your organization. That is his direct responsibility as the supervisor of players and coaches, and he should have known what was going on in his organization." That was also the reasoning behind general manager Mickey Loomis' eight-game suspension.
Payton remains the only NFL coach ever to be suspended for even one game.