The National Football League has handed down some tough fines and penalities to the New Orleans Saints for its participation in the ‘bounty’ sandal.
No one saw these huge penalities and fines coming. For starters the Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year without pay. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, whose now the DC for the Rams, has been suspended indefinitely. Commissioner Roger Goodell will review Williams status at the end of the season and only if he agrees to cooperate with any further investigation.
The Saints general manager Mickey Loomis is suspended for eight games without pay and fined $500,000 individually while the Saints franchise will be fined $500,000. The Saints will also lose second round draft picks for 2012 and 2013.
Saints assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt is suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games of the 2012 season. Individual players involved in the Saints’ bounty scandal continues to be under review with the NFL Players Association and will be addressed by Goodell at a later date.
Goodell released in a statement:
“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Goodell said. “We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised.”
“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” Commissioner Goodell continued. “When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”
The Saints were found to be paying players from a cash pool made up of contributions of players and Williams for injuring opponents. The rewards included $1,000 for causing an opponent to be carted off the field, and $1,500 for a knockout.
One of the reasons the penalties are so severe is that the league had instructed the Saints to dismantle the program, and they did not. It is a massive penalty that will affect the team’s season.