Brian Wilmer
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September 23 - An Open Letter

To Whom It May Concern:

Let me preface my statements by saying that I am truly heartbroken for the suffering of those who
were in the path of Hurricane Katrina. I cannot imagine the pain and devastation they currently feel.

With that said, I am growing beyond appalled at your reaction to this pain and suffering.

While you may have the noblest of intentions, you have turned the relief efforts into a circus. You could
have just collected the dollars and non-perishables and called it good.

However, that would not be befitting of a megalith such as yourselves.

The Saints had their first home game cancelled because of damage to the Superdome, so you
decided to move the game to Giants Stadium. Fine. You also decided to turn it into a national
spectacle on Monday night. That's not fine.

You used this national showcase to parade around several former stars, and the entire
ABC/ESPN/Disney gamut of has-beens (Tony Danza), gravy trains (Jeremy Schaap -- more on him
later), and other "names" (Chad Pennington) taking calls on the phone. You showed interminable
PSAs featuring everyone from George Lopez to Bob Ley, and basically hammered the viewer with your
"donate or else" message. I am honestly amazed that Mike Patrick wasn't tasked with a script, such
as, "oh, that play was unfortunate -- but not as unfortunate as the suffering of those in New Orleans!
Donate your first-born now!".

The even larger embarrassment of the "telethon" was the fact that not only did you trot out the
aforementioned assortment of names, you couldn't even correctly spell their names. Jeremy Schapp?
Jakie Slater? What, could John Ewlay or Dan Marnino not make it?

And finally, NFL, ESPN, and all associated parties, you can quit doing fluff pieces on the Saints,
showing fans holding up signs saying "Katrina: We Shall Overcome" as though it were more a civil
rights offense than a natural disaster, and attempting to make me feel as though I should
automatically become a Saints fan because they're now "America's team" or something. The fact
remains that they are still an underachieving team, and Jim Haslett's blatant whining on national
television about how they had the visitors' locker room and didn't get to call the toss, followed by a "it
sure felt like a road game to me!" cry at the end did nothing to endear me to this team or its
ostensible leader. I know you have to come up with something to fill each 480-minute episode of
SportsCenter, but enough is enough.

Now that the Hurricane Relief Weekend is over, can we stop this nonsense, for the good of all
humanity? Let the world get back to some sense of normalcy, and let those who wish to continue to
aid the cause do it without your constant over-the-top badgering.

I'm ready for some football.

With love and warmest regards,

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