(from Sept. 10, 2010, Mike Ornstein, second from left, shown with Sean Payton and Drew Brees)
New Orleans had little trouble with Atlanta last night, but CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman is having great difficulty understanding why Saints coaches and execs were all too willing to allow sideline / locker room access to a recently released felon. Even worse, he’s a former Reggie Bush associate!
Mike Ornstein was spotted by CBSSports.com’s Larry Holder speaking with Saints officials. In November of 2010, Ornstein was sentenced by a district court in Cleveland to eight months in prison after he scalped Super Bowl tickets and football jerseys that were fraudulently claimed to have been worn during NFL games.
This was no tiny enterprise or small crime. Ornstein made a lot of money ripping people off. Not to mention he already had a 1995 conviction for mail fraud on his record.
Ornstein recently got out of jail and there he was on Monday night…hobnobbing with the Saints. As a marketing agent for former Saint Reggie Bush, Ornstein was once a fixture around the franchise. He was also close to coach Sean Payton (and likely still is).
Ornstein served his time in prison and he has a right to a post-incarceration life. Hell, there have been star players who went to jail and returned to football. See: Vick, Mike. Vick ran an operation that fought and killed dogs and yet he’s playing in the NFL again.
That’s actually understandable. Vick gives a team a chance to win a Super Bowl and if there is one thing we’ve learned about the NFL some teams would sign Gaddafi if he could help them win (and if he were, you know, not dead). That I get.
But why would the Saints allow Ornstein around? Why risk the embarrassment? Why tick off the NFL office which I know for a fact despises the idea of him hanging around the Saints (and hated – yes, hated – that he was in New Orleans on Monday night). What’s the payoff?
I have a feeling we’re going to see more of Ornstein hanging around the Saints post-lockup. In fact, he was in the locker room after the game on Monday wearing a Saints NFC South champion hats.