New Orleans Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt just called me with something he wanted to get off his chest. Vitt said he was upset by what I have written about the incident following Monday night’s game where New Orleans players posed for pictures near the Atlanta Falcons’ logo. Vitt also said he’s upset with the way the media in general has portrayed the incident.
Vitt especially took exception to what was reported elsewhere about what one of the Saints was quoted as saying he did on the logo. Vitt said that never was said, but like I said that was written by another news organization, so we’ll stay clear of that.
Vitt’s a veteran assistant and is well respected throughout league circles as a no-frills guy. So I asked Vitt if he would like to go on the record and clear up what he believes were misconceptions about the incident. He agreed.
“We paid this team more respect than any team we’ve played this this year,’’ Vitt said. “They are by far the best football team we we’ve played this year. There is not a coach or a player on this football team that did not respect the Atlanta Falcons and their body of work up to that game.’’
Vitt, who also handles the linebackers, reiterated what head coach Sean Payton said the day after the game. Payton said it’s not uncommon for the Saints to have pictures taken to commemorate big victories. Vitt said the linebackers’ meeting room is filled with those type of pictures and they are not meant as a sign of disrespect to the Falcons or any other team.
“Pictures were taken as mementos for these guys so that when they are 65-years-old and getting knee and hip replacements, they can show the pictures to their grandkids,’’ Vitt said. “There are pictures like that all over my room.’’
Vitt repeatedly emphasized that the Saints were not showing disrespect to the Falcons.