Sports

Sean Payton accepts free couch, donates it to children's hospital

METAIRIE, La. — Sean Payton deserves a hearty “Skol” clap for his latest gesture.

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The New Orleans Saints coach took a mocking offer of a free couch from a Minnesota furniture company (so he could watch Sunday’s NFC Championship Game from home) and turned it into a positive with a $25,000 donation on Friday. He tweeted that the couch would be donated to Children’s Minnesota.

Payton drew the ire of some Minnesota Vikings fans and some media members this week after he was caught making the Vikings’ signature “Skol” clap gesture toward a group of fans before Minnesota came back with one of the most stunning last-second victories in NFL history.

Earlier this week, Payton said he was just having some “good playoff fun.”

But his response on Friday was even more brilliant — not only having some fun at his own expense but bringing even more attention to a fantastic charity cause that the two teams have been sharing in all week.

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Thomas Morstead‘s “What You Give Will Grow” charity earned more than $200,000 in donations this week (even before Payton’s contribution) after a Vikings fan suggested on social media that people should make donations to the Saints punter’s charity as an appreciation for the way he played through torn cartilage in his ribs and even came out to line up as a defensive tackle on the final two-point conversion kneel-down at the end of the game.

Morstead promised to fly back to Minnesota to personally deliver a check to Minnesota’s Child Life Program if the donations surpassed $100,000.

Payton added a #skol to his Twitter post on Friday, as well as a #recovering and the words, “Felling better already.” Payton also said he is pulling for his longtime friend Mike Zimmer, who coaches the Vikings.

Payton’s intensity and emotion on the sidelines have been well-chronicled throughout his 12-year tenure as Saints coach. It can be celebrated at times (like when his locker room dancing with a broom in hand after the Saints’ three-game sweep of the Carolina Panthers became a local dance craze last week). But it has drawn criticism at times, like when he made a choke gesture toward Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman earlier this season and later apologized for letting “my emotions get the best of me.

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