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Saints call rumors of White House visit delay “crap”

On Thursday, we pointed out the fact that the Saints had not yet visited the White House in the wake of their Super Bowl victory.

We also shared rumors that the delay had resulted from owner Tom Benson’s political leanings, and that coach Sean Payton insisted that the team attend.

Saints V.P. of communications Greg Bensel told Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the rumor is “crap.”

“Mr. Benson is excited for our visit to the White House,” Bensel told Duncan, adding that Benson is “not only eager to attend the White House celebration but is also eager to get the 2010 season started.”

Bensel also tells Duncan that the visit, which will occur in conjunction with an August 12 preseason game, has been scheduled “for months.”

Still, it’s odd that the team would distract from training camp and the preseason to swing by D.C. for a belated pat on the back from the President. It would have made much more sense to do it during a lull in offseason workouts or at any point before, you know, the 2010 season officially launches.

There’s another tangible reason not to celebrate a Super Bowl championship once the quest for the next title has commenced. How in the world do the Saints expect their players to forget about last year’s success and focus on this year’s challenges if they’re going to allow their victory lap from February extend into the new season?

So either Bensel is protecting Benson -- or the Saints made “months” ago a very bad decision to sniff the fumes of their first championship weeks after the time comes to focus exclusively on going after their second one.