Louisiana native Carville plays politics with Goodell

Sat Feb 2, 2013 12:19pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Democratic strategist, political pundit and media guru James Carville admits there are few things he's more passionate about than the New Orleans Saints.

And despite his zeal, the architect of Bill Clinton's path to the White House insists he's over the angst the rest of the city still feels toward NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"You just can't obsess on the past," the Louisiana native told Reuters this week in an interview this week during the run-up to Sunday's Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens.

Goodell suspended Saints coach Sean Payton for a year, and levied suspensions of varying lengths to various coaches and players for a "pay for pain" system of bounties.

Although most of the suspensions were ultimately overturned by arbitrator (and former commissioner) Paul Tagliabue, the Saints' 7-9 record this year did not sit well in the Big Easy.

Pictures of Goodell's face have been plastered outside Bourbon Street bars saying in big block letters, "Do not serve."

Carville contends he's no longer angry at Goodell but he is a career politician and he certainly knows you don't want to antagonize the man who makes the decision on who will host the Super Bowl down the road.

"He's a guest of ours and we love having the Super Bowl here," the 68-year-old Carville said with his Bayou drawl and a glint in his eye.   Continued...

Fans wearing San Francisco 49ers jerseys ride a horse-drawn carriage through the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana February 1, 2013. REUTERS/Brian Snyder