Brew: Saints making amends for past mistakes



hen thinking about the New Orleans Saints, other than thinking about Drew Brees, negative things can come to mind. In one instance in particular, several defensive players for the organization were paid out “non-contract bonuses” or “bounties” for their in-game performances during the 2009 through 2011 seasons. In 2012, the NFL stated that then-Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams organized “Bountygate.” The strictest of actions were taken out against the New Orleans Saints organization, having its coaches suspended from six weeks to indefinite spans, depending on their determined knowledge of the scandal.

Since the “Bountygate” scandal, the Saints have attempted to better their tarnished reputation. One recent donation from owner Tom Benson could help change the public’s view of the Saints.

The charity benefiting from Tom Benson’s generous donation of $5 million is Team Gleason. Team Gleason was founded shortly after former New Orleans Saint Steve Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.

“After I was diagnosed with ALS, the continued support Michel [his wife] and I have received from the Saints and the Bensons has been humbling and a tremendous comfort to us both,” Gleason said.

According to its Facebook page, Team Gleason is a philanthropic organization that helps “create an environment for families living with ALS that will enable them to not only survive, but also thrive.”

The money will be used to operate Team Gleason’s House for Innovative Living. The House for Innovative Living is in New Orleans’ St. Margaret Hospital. It’s designed to give up to 18 people fighting ALS as much freedom and independence as possible with the help of state of the art technology. The first residents of the home should arrive early this summer, associate executive director of Team Gleason, Clare Durrett said.

“With the creation of the Team Gleason House, we announced to the world that, with the right care and the right technology, ALS patients can be productive and purposeful for decades,” Gleason said. “Through this generous gift, we are assured of the sustainability of that mission.”

Benson released a written statement following his and his wife’s donation.

“Gayle and I couldn’t be more proud of the work that Steve and Team Gleason are doing for people living with ALS. Steve inspires us all with his message of facing and overcoming adversity,” he said. “And, we wanted to be part of growing this community of productive individuals committed to living as independently as possible.”

Gleason hopes to have buildings like the Team Gleason House for Innovative Living in every NFL city, he told Peter King, Sports Illustrated writer.


  • Updated Apr. 28, 2014 at 10:26 pm