Based on this report from The Times-Picayune, Mike Ornstein was a huge player in the Bountygate scandal. Ornstein never officially worked for the team, but the two time felon was a mainstay around the Saints. And depending on who you asked in the organization, he was either an asset or a detriment.
Ornstein was cited as a figure that pledged money to the Saints’ bounty pool in the NFL’s investigation. One such report of Ornstein pledging money involves Green Bay Packer quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. According to the report, Ornstein emailed Saints’ coaches and pledged money for a knockout blow to Aaron Rodgers. Sean Payton denies he ever read that email.
Citing an internal NFL memo sent to all 32 teams about the bounty scandal, CBSSports.com reported that Ornstein on at least four occasions pledged rewards of $5,000 to $10,000 to the Saints’ bounty pool from 2009 to 2011.
Among the 18,000 documents league investigators examined is an email from Ornstein to Saints’ coaches last season in which he pledged money for a knockout blow to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers before the NFL kickoff game, according to a source familiar with the situation.
That same source insists Ornstein sent the message in jest. Payton reportedly told NFL investigators last week he did not read the email.
Whether the NFL buys either claim remains to be seen. This isn’t a court of law. The league can and will rule on its own volition.
Ornstein politely declined to comment when reached at his Los Angeles home Wednesday.
His involvement in the scandal, however peripheral, will not help the Saints’ cause. He’s persona non-grata to the NFL and the fact that he remained affiliated with the club even after his second conviction displeased some league officials.
The Saints’ association with Ornstein has sullied the image of the league and exacerbated an already serious problem for the organization. The Saints’ future will be negatively impacted by it. They will pay the price for their hubris.
This isn’t about the fleur de lis. It’s about the NFL shield.
If the Saints didn’t respect that before last week, they certainly do now.
Take some time and read the full report of what Ornstein has been involved in over the years. Once you do, you’ll wonder just how the Saints could let this guy hang around for so long.