Louisiana Senate panel passes resolution in support of Saints

Head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis, assistant coach Joe Vitt, and the New Orleans Saints will have their day in court Thursday, so to speak, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell listens to the their appeals on the penalties levied for their role in the team's "bounty" scandal.

On Wednesday, though, the Saints received some in-state support from the Louisiana Senate, as the Committee on Senate and Governmental Affairs passed a bill calling for the NFL to reconsider its punishment, according to The Times-Picayune.

The resolution cites "widespread public opinion throughout the state of Louisiana and beyond that the penalties imposed upon the Saints are too harsh and should be reconsidered."

Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season, Loomis for the first eight games and Vitt the first six games. In addition, the team was fined $500,000 and docked second-round draft picks this year and next year.

Goodell, who will hear and rule on the appeals Thursday at the league's headquarters in New York, said he hopes to expedite the process. Chances are slim any discipline would be reduced, but the appeals process could buy all parties more time to chart their futures while punishment is being administered.

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