ZOLA: J’Accuse, NFL!

My friends, there is no doubt we should’ve been there, even if Atlanta sucks. And yes, I’m glad the Rams got beat and karma took over. But we were denied. Not by the failure or lack of skill of our beloved Saints but by what is being pressed by the NFL as a moment of bad luck.

A cluster of events leading up to, and including the NFC championship, present too many coincidences to be just a coincidence. In times like these we seek the spiritual guidance of everything from our Parish Priest to the local Voo Doo lady. All of them will land on the universal notion that there is no such thing as a coincidence. Even Deepak Chopra espoused that “When a coincidence arises, don’t ignore it. … The key is to pay attention and inquire.”

Moments like this, looked at in cool clear hindsight, reveal the problem that needs to be investigated on the most serious level available to the public.

No my friends, this is not a matter of civil litigation. Not yet anyway, that comes later. You’ve got a year and a day to file a civil lawsuit. That can wait. While there was misplaced hope for injunctive relief, it wasn’t coming from a civil court. This appears to be a matter most criminal.

Look at the information that flows from the aftermath of this disaster. Whether true or not, fact or fiction, information is unraveling that half the officiating crew used for the NFC playoff game were from California, and particularly, the Los Angeles region. And let’s not fail to mention that one of the referees was a former Rams player.

In the world of legal ethics, judges and lawyers continually seek to avoid the appearance of impropriety. It’s a common practice that they work hard at in an effort to maintain solid legal ethics and professional responsibility. First thing they do is a conflict check!

Between social media, commercial media and the false misrepresentations of the NFL leadership, a pattern is forming and there is an appearance of impropriety. Is it at the behest of the NFL? How about we find out?

That solution lies in the hands of one, or two, Louisiana elected officials; the first would be the Orleans Parish District Attorney and then possibly Louisiana Attorney General.

I believe that there is a solid basis to present the circumstances surrounding the NFC championship to an Orleans Parish Criminal grand jury on the basis of their determining the extent of a possible criminal conspiracy to cause outside fraudulent forces to alter the outcome of the NFC championship game.

For those of you who think it’s a pretty weak idea, consider the heady days of the 1960’s when Jim Garrison, District Attorney of Orleans Parish, opened a criminal grand jury investigation into the assassination of then President John F. Kennedy, about the criminal conspiracy to assassinate the president, who was killed in Dallas, Texas.

The only thing Jim Garrison had to give cause to investigate the potential conspiracy was a French Quarter snitch and a local hood. And yet, he moved forward to investigate a criminal conspiracy and he posed questions about the assassination of our president.

The NFC championship didn’t take place in another state. It took place in a facility in Orleans Parish, owned by the State of Louisiana, in front of tens of thousands of live witnesses as well as millions of folks observing through the magic of television. How close does a district attorney need a crime to take place from his office?

I understand that some people see this is a stretch. But consider the NFL commissioners “end of the story” news conference. In that last news conference addressing the issue, he referenced the fact that he called each player on the Saints squad. That has been determined by former Saints players to be wholly inaccurate. Possibly quite a fib. Would that statement stand up under oath?

It’s time for the Orleans Parish district attorney to issue subpoenas to the officiants of the NFC championship game, and the NFL leadership, and have them come to New Orleans and go to Tulane and Broad, be sworn in, and give testimony as to how the referees were selected to come to referee a game with a competing team playing from their home community.

Ask them who told them to come to New Orleans. Ask anything else you want. But when you find out who ordered them to come to New Orleans, issue that link a subpoena, and question them along the same lines. Eventually you’ll get to the big stink.

This is more than just a football game. This is the reprehensible moment that took place in front of the public that is fully condoned by the NFL. The Rams player involved boasted that he acted intentionally. This is not an action that should be taken lightly, or forgiven, or not pursued to the fullest extent of the opportunities allowed to us by the laws of Louisiana.

Issue the subpoenas. Let’s get the Orleans Parish District Attorney to do the job, and if they can’t, or won’t, move over and let the Attorney General take over. That’s a State facility. And I bet State officials witnessed the entire mess unfold.

Every one of those players on the Saints squad lost money and opportunity. Mrs. Benson lost money and opportunity. And the loss of the game over such questionable circumstances is much like the death of a family member to every Saints fan in America.

So whether it’s fraud, theft, RICO or a conspiracy of a combination of all, it deserves to be investigated and not forgotten. Follow the trail.

In the name of the citizens of the State of Louisiana and the Who Dat Nation , j’accuse!

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