Tom Benson made his smartest business decision


If you like Sean Payton as Saints head coach and Mickey Loomis as the team’s general manager, then you like Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson naming his wife Gayle as his successor.
 
If Benson’s granddaughter Rita, her mother and brother assumed control of the team at any point in the near future, Payton and Loomis were as good as gone.
 
Ask Drew Brees. He didn’t actually say that, but he still said plenty.
 
The Saints quarterback threw his support in favor of Mrs. Benson at last week’s Pro Bowl practices.
 
“I have so much trust and confidence in Mr. Benson and Gayle. And, the entire ownership structure that has been put in place,” Brees told ESPN. “And, whatever decisions are made we have confidence in. We don’t control it as players. But, I have a tremendous relationship with Mr. Benson, with Gayle Benson and with everybody in management.”
 
For months, rumors have swirled about turmoil in the building as Benson’s family moved in to take control of the team. Did the internal uproar contribute to a lackluster seven-win season? Probably.
 
Tom Benson had his loyal lieutenants. The Benson family had a few of theirs.
 
Last week, Benson ended the drama, telling his grandchildren and their mother they were no longer welcomed at Saints and Pelicans games or at the team’s facilities.
 
What followed was predictable.
 
Lawyers got involved. The ousted accused Mrs. Benson of being a gold-digger and said that Tom Benson was not mentally competent to make such a decision.
 
Days later, Benson was videotaped in an interview with the TV station he owns, Fox 8. Mr. Benson was asked how he was feeling?
 
“Like a 50-year-old,” said Benson. “Putting in a good day’s work, for a good day’s pay.”
 
Proving that Tom Benson isn’t mentally competent will be an extremely tall order for the other side.
 
And, there’s the issue of the trust that was agreed to by both parties. The grandchildren and their mother say this trust, which gives them a majority stake in both teams, cannot be changed.
 
As for Mrs. Benson, I can say I find her charming and smart. Her husband is a good man. She has made him better.
 
Tom Benson was always philanthropic. Even more so with Gayle at his side. And, now he has done New Orleans a huge favor. With Gayle Benson running the show, there will be no flirtation with San Antonio or any other place.
 
It is Tom Benson’s wish that the Saints and Pelicans stay in New Orleans, permanently. And, his wife will carry out those wishes.
 
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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