Even if it’s the Super Bowl, this Saints Super Fan will stay away

Saints Super Fan Donald Silcio gets ready for a game

NEW ORLEANS —  He’s one of the most recognizable Saints Super Fans and never misses a game. Until this season.

Just three weeks into it, when Saints players followed the lead of other NFL teams and knelt on the field before the National Anthem, some fans said goodbye to their beloved team by boycotting the games.

Now with the Saints edging nearer to a shot at the Super Bowl, some of those same fans have forgiven the team and hurried back to their seats in the stadium.

“Gametime Saint,” the football helmet-wearing alter ego of Donald Silcio, is still staying away.

Silcio owns a security company in Diamondhead, Mississippi.  But for nearly 12 years, he’s been putting on the helmet, the pads, the jersey, and the tough as nails persona to become a true Super Fan.  He’s gone to almost every game — home and away. He even had a ticket to fly to London in October to cheer for the Saints against the Dolphins in the exhibition game.

Then the players knelt down, and “Gametime Saint” vowed to boycott every team in the NFL in protest.

“It was tough at first,” Silcio says, “but if I say I’m gonna stand by something, I’m gonna stick with it.”

That meant not watching any NFL game on television and not listening to any game on the radio.  Silcio says he keeps up with social media to find out if the Saints won or lost, and he’ll watch the highlight reel afterward.

He also says he has nothing against the Black Lives Matter movement, but he objects to the “venue.”  Football should be “fun and games,” he says, not a place for protest.  And that trip to London last fall?  He and his wife kept their plane tickets and flew over, but went to Stonehenge instead of the game.

As for the Saints’ chance to be in the Super Bowl this year, Silcio says he’s excited for the team, “even though I’m not participating.”

“It’s an exciting time for them. I hope they win.”