Saints Misbehavin’: Email as Smoking Gun

By Steve Weissman posted 03-09-2012 09:43


If you are tuned into sports at all, then you've no doubt heard about the trouble the New Orleans Saints are in for awarding cash bounties to players who knock opponents out of the game by virtue of physical contact. (Sorry, Bryant!) But even if you are not, you should be keenly aware as an information professional that internal club e-mails played a role in bringing the situation to a head.

According to an article in this week's Sports Illustrated (registration or subscription required), the National Football League informed the team that prior investigations of the rumored practice were being renewed. “At that point,” the publication wrote, “the owner allowed NFL officials and outside forensic experts to gather evidence, including copious club e-mails, related to the bounty program.”

Aside from the fact that it was colossally foolish to put any kind of reference to any kind of bounty in any form of writing – never mind how abhorrent the policy itself was – letting the offending messages  hang around was completely ridiculous. In our parlance, we would call it a failure to properly dispose of content, and just as it has put a successful football organization in line for serious sanctions, so can it damage your place of work.

Just to be clear, the moral of this story is not "it doesn't matter what you do as long as you don't get caught.” No; the lesson is that not every bit of content needs to be kept forever and always, and there are very compelling reasons for it not to be.

#recordsdisposition #ContentManagement #Records-Management #ElectronicRecordsManagement