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Saints Fan Wearing Free Sean Payton Shirt Gets Picture with Roger Goodell

by Jillian Firnhaber

Many New Orleanians have spent their showers dreaming up what they’d say to Roger Goodell if they ran into him on the street. One Saints fan got a chance to go face-to-face with the Commish, and he has the picture to prove it. Known only as 2009ring on, a local man got a picture with Goodell, wearing none other than one of the immensely popular “Free Sean Payton” T-shirts. (Dirty Coast edition, for those keeping score at home.)

Goodell was speaking at the Sirius XM Town Hall in New York City. After having recused himself from the Bounty proceedings, it seems Goodell doesn’t have much to talk about, and about the only piece of useful information to come from the press conference is Goodell’s reluctance to continue the Pro Bowl, with its low ratings and lack of player enthusiasm. After the broadcast, 2009ring went to work getting the infamous photo. He described the event thusly on the Saintsreport:

During the event I wore my white Deuce 26 jersey. Underneath it I had a black “FREE SEAN PAYTON” t-shirt on. I didn’t want to risk any reactions before, during, or after the broadcast (there was NFL security everywhere). So after the broadcast I removed my jersey and put it in my bag. They gave us each footballs that Goodell signed for us. I held my football over the FSP part of the shirt until I got next to Goodell. We made chit chat for a minute and then posed for the picture. At that time I lowered the football to my waist to fully expose the FREE SEAN PAYTON message on the shirt. They took two pictures of us together like that.

2009ring was also able to ask Goodell a bounty-related question during the press conference and was frustrated with his response. 

I referred to Bountygate as the Saints’ “pay for performance situation,” in his answer he referred to is as the “pay for performance/bounty situation. It’s clear he recognizes no line between the two.

2009 is scheduled to receive his print copy of the photo within the next 3-4 weeks, but is unsure of whether or not he will receive it once it’s reviewed by the NFL higher-ups.
Freeing Sean Payton has been on more than just 2009ring’s mind in recent days, as Saints’ owner Tom Benson has said that he may look into an appeal to Payton’s yearlong banishment if the player appeals for Jon Vilma, Will Smith, et al are successful.
The Saints have won their last two, and interim head coach Joe Vitt is back for this week’s stand-out matchup against the Peyton Manning led Broncos. A Payton return could be just the thing needed to buoy the team for an improbable playoff run.
News of the picture was first reported by Deadspin.

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