In April, ESPN’s John Barr broke what appeared to be a significant story – the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana had been told “New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs.” Spygate all over again! On the heels of the bounty saga, this was devastating news to the Saints. Was their Super Bowl run tainted? Perhaps!
But wait. Loomis vehemently denied the report. Then, word leaked out of Louisiana that perhaps the story came from an employee who had been fired. So maybe that guy wasn’t the most credible source.
Four months later, we’ve got an answer:
Louisiana State Police Col. Mike Edmonson says his investigators have found no evidence at this time that the Saints or general manager Mickey Loomis rigged Superdome wiring so opposing coaches’ radio communications could be intercepted.
Now the question will become: Did ESPN run with this story based on just once source? It’s pretty clear that Barr, while reporting on the Saints, came upon the former employee, who told Barr he was going to Attorney General’s office. But couldn’t any disgruntled former employee go to the US Attorney and make a wild claim? Did Barr have a second source? Did Barr see any evidence before running with the story?
Loomis has yet to react – or say whether or not he’ll sue ESPN. Maybe he’s waiting for Louis Freeh – yes, the Saints hired the same Louis Freeh that Penn State hired – to file his report on the investigation.