Sportress of Blogitude

Already? Saints removing image of Darren Sharper from outside of stadium

shaper-banner

In a move that is an absolute no-brainer, the New Orleans Saints organization has decided it needs to dissociate itself even further from admitted serial rapist Darren Sharper. The unfortunate aspect of it for the team is that he is related to an iconic and celebrated image from the team’s Super Bowl XLIV championship.

A banner located in Champions Square outside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome features the image of Sharper raising a finger in celebration after Tracy Porter clinched the victory with a late-game interception of Peyton Manning in New Orleans’ 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Saints senior vice president of marketing and business development Ben Hales summarized the decision as follows, via the New Orleans Advocate: “It’s common sense. We don’t even want the perception that that’s an individual we’re celebrating.”

Hales expressed some modicum of regret that such an iconic image has to be taken down, a move that is part of a plan to have the entertainment square outside the stadium “freshened up.”

“We’re going through some options now. Definitely going will be the Tracy Porter picture,” Hales said. “The shame of it is, that’s an iconic moment from the Super Bowl. People can probably do the TV and radio call in their head. There just happens to be somebody in the background who is not someone our organization or the NFL Network is likely to be celebrating.”

He’s got that right. Sharper was sentenced to nine years in prison and will be on probation for the rest of his life — including a condition that he will be subjected to regular penile plethysmograph testing upon his release — after pleading guilty to a litany of rape charges involving nine women in four states.

The removal of such a banner obviously has a logistical component to it. It’s nevertheless surprising, however, that it took so long for the Saints to announce it would be taking down the image featuring Sharper.

[H/T Pro Football Talk, image via WWL-TV/Twitter]