NFL team’s deep Catholic ties behind role in abuse crisis

Sports

An Associated Press review found the Bensons have given at least $62 million to the New Orleans Archdiocese and other Catholic causes over the past dozen years.

FILE – In this Oct. 23, 2016, file photo, a New Orleans Saints helmet rests on the playing field before an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo. The Saints are going to court to keep the public from seeing hundreds of emails that allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area’s Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Why would the NFL’s New Orleans Saints strike a behind-the-scenes alliance with the Catholic Church on an issue as emotionally fraught as clergy sex abuse? It’s a question even die-hard fans are asking in a Catholic city where football is a religion of its own. And the answer appears to lie in the bond that billionaire owner Tom Benson and his now-widow Gayle built for years with area church leaders. An Associated Press review found the Bensons have given at least $62 million to the New Orleans Archdiocese and other Catholic causes over the past dozen years.

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