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Saints coach Sean Payton calls Bountygate investigation a 'sham'

He was suspended for the entire 2012 season.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton is already among the most hated opponents in Vikings country, and what he said during a radio interview on Thursday probably won't help establish any new friendships in Minnesota. 

Payton, of course, has been the coach of the Saints since 2006. He's best known for, perhaps, being the coach of the 2009 Super Bowl champion Saints that beat the Vikings in the "Bountygate" scandal of the NFC title game. 

And that's where the conversation turned Thursday on Inside Access with Jason La Canfora & Ken Weinman on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore after the hosts asked Payton what he thought about former Steelers linebacker James Harrison saying on a podcast that Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin handed him an envelope after Harrison's 2010 hit on Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi rendered a $75,000 fine. 

"If people are waiting for the league to investigate that, they shouldn't hold their breath. I think what took place with us in 2011, in so many ways, was a sham. There wasn't a lot we could do with it. The players were vindicated, but from a coaching standpoint there's no union, there's no representation," said Payton. 

"I would be shocked ... that'll be something that's tucked away under the rug at Park Ave. They'll look into it briefly. Don't get me started on that. I lost $6 million in salary and honestly it was something I'll never truly get over because I know how it was handled and how it was run and the reasons behind it. That's just the truth." 

The Bountygate scandal left then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre hobbled and badly bruised, with a league investigation revealing in March 2012 that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams paid players for malicious hits on opponents. 

Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season and Williams was kicked out of the league until being allowed to return to coaching in 2013. He's now the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets. 

Tomlin, meanwhile, remains the head coach of the Steelers, where he's been since departing as Vikings defensive coordinator after the 2006 season. 

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