Benson responds to open letter suggesting he sell Saints, Pelicans

Benson responds to open letter suggesting he sell Saints, Pelicans
Mr. Benson's funeral arrangements have benn set. (FOX 8 Photo)

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Tom Benson comes out with a strong statement after a Times-Picayune open letter suggested he sell the Saints and Pelicans.

Benson said he's not selling either team, and he has no plans to step down anytime soon.

It was a discussion that began Sunday on the front page of the newspaper.

"We just wanted to raise the awareness of potential options other than the ones proposed," said sports columnist Jeff Duncan.

In the open letter, longtime Times-Picayune sports reporter-turned-columnist Duncan wrote that a Benson sports team sale would be in the best interests of "the City of New Orleans, the NFL and the NBA."

"I think we're staring at a protracted, long-term court battle over his estate, and I don't think anyone is going win from that," Duncan said.

Now, Benson is out with a response, saying, ''I am not selling either team. That is not in my makeup. I am not retiring or stepping aside, while I do appreciate all of the sincere concern for my health."

Duncan's Times-Picayune letter says, "the new plan to cede control to your wife, Gayle Benson, and a board of directors, while well intentioned, has created a whole new set of problems."

"It began back in January, and this has a long way to go," said FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti. "It could be years before it's resolved."

Benson says emphatically that "my plan to transfer complete control to Gayle is unassailable and designed to provide the long term stability and resources that all franchises need to produce consistently winning teams."

Benson closed out his letter by saying, "Selling these teams is not part of a solution, rather it is detrimental to those goals.

Tom Benson owns WVUE FOX 8, and the station is managed by Raycom Media.

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