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Friday, August 26, 2016

Saints GM Mickey Loomis reportedly could listen to opposing teams’ radio communications from ’02-’04

As if the Saints weren’t already in enough trouble for running a bounty program under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, their GM is now facing charges of spying on opposing teams’ radio communications.

“Outside the Lines” reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was told last week that Saints GM Mickey Loomis had the opposing coaches’ communications lines re-wired so that he could listen to them from his suite on game days.

The illegal tapping apparently went on from 2002-2004, a span where the Saints went 25-23 under head coach Jim Haslett. The report states that the previous GM had the ability to listen to communications of the Saints’ coaches on game days, but when Loomis took over, he had the device re-wired so that he could listen to opposing coaches.

ESPN does not know if Loomis used the device during games (though come on, who would get that installed and then not use it?). The team’s defensive coordinator at the time, Rick Venturi, says he never received help during games. Rick Mueller, the brother of former team GM Randy Mueller, says he sat in the GM’s suite during Loomis’ tenure and recalls Loomis using an earpiece during games, which would indicate he was listening to opposing coaches.

Loomis’ ability to listen to opposing coaches apparently went away after Hurricane Katrina, meaning it ended after the 2004 season. The statue of limitations for federal and state laws, which these accusations would violate, have passed if 2004 was the last time Loomis listened. However, opposing teams that were harmed would have two years to file a suit.

As disturbing as these accusations are, it’s not the first time we’ve heard of teams using electronic means to gain an advantage. The Broncos were investigated in 2010 for taping the 49ers’ practice in London. The Patriots infamously taped opposing teams’ signals during games and also were accused of interfering with the radio communication of opposing teams.

Loomis was already suspended eight games for the Saints’ bounty program, and the latest allegations do nothing to help his reputation or any pleas of innocence me may have made. This is one dirty organization, and it began at the top.

The Saints, unsurprisingly, are denying the charges.

“This report is 1000 percent false,” Greg Bensel, vice president of communications for the Saints. “Completely inaccurate. We asked ESPN to provide us evidence to support their allegations and they refused. The team and Mickey are seeking all legal recourse regarding these false allegations.”


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