NFL and NBA executives joined Saints and Pelicans players and coaches and New Orleans city officials in a historic French Quarter cathedral Friday for the funeral of Tom Benson Sammy Watkins Jersey
, the owner of the city's two major professional sports franchises who died last week at age 90.
"You can see how much people really loved him," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu, looking at throngs of tourists and locals outside St. Louis Cathedral a few minutes before the midday Mass.
Church bells pealed as Benson's widow, Gayle, awaited the arrival of her late husband's hearse. Nearby were pall bearers and honorary pall bearers including Saints coach Sean Payton, quarterback Drew Brees and general manager Mickey Loomis; and Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, coach Alvin Gentry and star forward Anthony Davis.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond officiated at the Mass, an invitation-only event that followed two days of public visitation at Notre Dame Seminary.
Among those attending were NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Patrick Kerney Jersey
, former Gov. Bobby Jindal and Gov. John Bel Edwards, who had earlier ordered flags at the state Capitol and state buildings flown at half-staff Friday in Benson's memory. Mayor-elect Latoya Cantrell, who succeeds the term-limited Landrieu in May, also attended.
"Tom was a New Orleans saint, on Earth," Aymond said during the Mass, noting that the New Orleans-born Benson was born to a poor family. Aymond recounted personal memories, including Benson's joy at recounting, repeatedly Corey Linsley Jersey
, how he met Gayle at the cathedral during a service.
He noted Benson's personal losses, saying he suffered the deaths of two previous wives, two children and three siblings.
"Some of the tensions of family life brought him disappointment and another loss," Aymond said. It was an apparent allusion to his falling out with daughter Renee, and her two children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc. They had been in line to take over the Benson business empire but Benson made it known in January 2015 that he intended for Gayle Benson to inherit complete control of the Saints and Pelicans. There followed an unsuccessful attempt by the estranged heirs to have Benson declared mentally incompetent in court.
Benson was a successful automobile dealer when he bought the Saints in 1985. Under his ownership, the team achieved its first winning seasons and a Super Bowl championship in 2010 that buoyed the spirits of a city that was still struggling at the time to recover from Hurricane Katrina, which hit less than five years earlier.
Benson bought the city's NBA franchise, the Pelicans Marshal Yanda Jersey
, in 2012.
In recent years, Benson was becoming known for his philanthropy as well as his business holdings and ownership of sports franchises. Beneficiaries included the Catholic churches and organizations and a $20 million donation to the Ochsner Health System for the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center.
The state that successfully waged a legal battle against all sports leagues to secure for all states the ability to have gambling on all sports now has the sports leagues trying a different approach.
Yes, they want their integrity fee in New Jersey.
Via NJ.com, the NBA, MLB, and PGA spent Thursday lobbying New Jersey legislators for the one-percent cut that those leagues have tried to get in other states. Baseball has enlisted (paid, presumably) former pitcher Al Leiter to assist.
It may not matter. Senate President Stephen Sweeney (pictured) calls the request for an integrity fee an effort at extortion.
“The leagues fought with all of their resources to stop states from allowing their citizens to legally wager on sports,” Sweeney recently wrote in a letter to governors and key lawmakers in all states, urging them to refuse to pay the fee. “Now that their efforts have been ultimately unsuccessful Tre'Davious White Jersey
, they wish themselves to make ‘the fast buck’ and to ‘get something for nothing.’
“Essentially, the Leagues are asking to be paid to allow games to be played fairly. And their demand begs the question of what they would now start doing to preserve the integrity of their games that they have not been doing for years.”
Amen to that. And amen to this concern from Sweeney about how an integrity fee could actually harm the integrity of the sports that receive it.
“Taking the leagues at their word, giving them a ‘piece of the action,’ would make suspicions grow whenever turning-point calls in close games go in favor of the more popular team — whose presence in the ‘big game’ would drive ratings and betting,” Sweeney wrote.
Even without betting, plenty of fans think that the leagues “want” certain teams to make the playoffs and then to advance in the postseason. When the payoff isn’t simply increased ratings but increased bets from which the sports leagues receive a cut, those suspicions will grow.
The NFL continues to not be part of the state-to-state effort to secure an integrity fee. Instead, the NFL will be trying to lobby Congress for a nationwide regulatory scheme that gives the sports leagues payment under a less awkward label than “integrity fee.” Authentic Womens John Franklin-Myers Jersey