When I was younger, I dreamed of an opportunity to be able to work in the sports journalism field and ESPN was the standard or goal that was set. If you made it there you achieved the literal top of the mountain. Recently though has been a different story.
Most Saints fans heard about the piece featured Sunday morning on Sean Payton for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines”. Thinking that it would be a balanced piece, I watched as it was headlined by ESPN’s John Barr. This is the same reporter who broke the wiretapping/eavesdropping story about Saints general manger Mickey Loomis.
Barr questioned several former players such as defensive end Charles Grant and wide receiver Joe Horn about implications that Payton was arrogant, a control freak, and was vindictive. On the latter, Horn said he couldn’t “confirm that”.
Also during the segment, Barr stated that one local reporter said that,
Payton has intimidated so many people, that everybody is afraid of him.
Bryan Allee-Walsh, who used to cover the Saints for the Times-Picayune, was cited as one of the reporters who Payton had fell out with and banned from the facility for writing articles that “angered Payton”. However, Walsh declined to comment to Barr on the topic.
Larry Holder, also of the Times-Picayune who covers the Saints, was mentioned by Barr as having a label as a “dissenter” or “negative” by Payton. Barr mentioned that many local media as well as current and former Saints employee’s would not go on record with him out fear for personal and professional repercussions.