NFLPA says it will review league’s report on Saints’ bounties

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Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Friday that he’ll consult with the NFLPA in fashioning the penalties for the Saints’ habit (not mistake, but habit) of paying bounties to defensive players who injure their opponents.

The NFLPA has acknowledged the situation, without shedding light on any action that the league believes Goodell should take.

“Health and safety is a paramount issue to the NFLPA,” the union said in a statement released on Friday night. “The NFLPA was informed of this investigation by the NFL earlier today and will review the information contained in the league’s report.”

Like many incidents involving players infringing on the rights of other players, the NFLPA is in a delicate situation.  When it comes to bounties, the union represents both the players who were targeted, and the players who did the targeting.

In this case, one significant difference comes from the fact that someone not in the union, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, administered the system.  Moreover, head coach Sean Payton knew about it.

And so the NFLPA has a strong interest in protecting all players against such behavior.  Thus, look for the NFLPA to press the league to take significant action.

53 responses to “NFLPA says it will review league’s report on Saints’ bounties

  1. 2 things.

    1. If they prove bounties were paid for concussions – it’s over. Expect to get whacked a lot harder than the Pats were for filming teams.

    2. If ANY bounty money came from the coaches, NFL would probably consider that a violation of the salary cap as coaches = organization as far as the NFL cares. That won’t bode well for the team in any way/shape or form.

  2. How about a forfeit of 1st Round, 2nd Round and 3rd Round draft picks for the next 10 Years… Good start… What a disgrace to the game… I am speechless…

  3. Since this is the newest story on the subject I’ll address the comments about other teams doing this here.

    Yes, other teams’ defensive players target offensive players who are known to be nursing injuries to try and minimize their impact. The difference is Williams is alleged to have instituted a system of cash payments for it. Granted, the amounts seem stupid when compared the fines the players could get hit with by the league, but that doesn’t change the situation.

    The drive to put a “good, clean, hard hit” on someone as a defensive players goes all the way down to the high school level. Hell, I did it as an OLB in HS. But that isn’t what this is about. This is about taking people out of the game possibly with season/career ending injuries. The league has to protect the players.

  4. .

    The Patriots own the Saints first round. Strip them of the pick as reminder not to videotape from the wrong locale.


  5. The entire staff should be banned. All we hear about is safety in the NFL, they have changed the sport in the name of safety. They need to set an example.

  6. Take the Saints’ franchise tag and second round pick this year, and their first round pick next year. Suspend Williams for at least one year.

  7. Since NO management seems to think Brees is a good but not great QB, it wont be a big deal if he hits the open market if the NFL takes away their franchise tag.

    Am I right?

  8. Both Gregg Williams and Sean Payton(and anyone else in the Saints organization) should be banned from the NFL if this is proven to be true.

  9. This is sort of behavior is never going away unless they punish severely. I’d be surprised if the punishment fits the crime, because this league is all about right and wrong, until it directly effects the health of a money making franchise. No way do the Saints lose a high draft pick, franchise tag or anything of a damning degree. It will be just severe enough for it to appear to be more then a slap on the hand. See kids, the NFL cares about right and wrong, they care about you… so don’t forget to tune in!

  10. Loss of draft picks should happen. Payton and Willimas should both be suspended (Payton for 8 games and WIlliams for a full season).

  11. Any fine less than $1M for the team is a joke. Coach and coordinators should also be individually fined/suspended.

    Draft picks need to be taken away – or at least moved to the very end of the line, as in the final x drafts of the last round are now where NO gets to draft and not before.

    I would even consider auto-forfeiture of a number of games.

    No punishment would be too harsh.

  12. chrisexv6 says:
    Mar 2, 2012 7:53 PM
    Since NO management seems to think Brees is a good but not great QB, it wont be a big deal if he hits the open market if the NFL takes away their franchise tag.

    Am I right?


    Look at it this way, if I’m Drew Brees and I demand and get his monster salary that prevents the Saints from keeping their stud Guard on the team – you want to be standing there while other teams go after you for “revenge”?

  13. dirty hit on Steve Smith #1

    dirty hit on Steve Smith#2

    The Saints our dirty!!! As a Panther fan, I’ve been saying this for years, people accused me of trolling, and called me all sorts of names, Saints fans mostly and other team fans also………

    I hate the Saints.

  14. Lesson to be learned from this. If it looks like a soft, pasty, sleazeball coach, complains like a soft, pasty, sleazeball coach, and slouches around like a soft, pasty, sleazeball coach, it probably is one. Or two, in this case.

  15. “Four Redskins confirmed that a similar bounty system was in place in Washington to the one in New Orleans.”

    The Rams defense will be under a microscopic this season…bank on it.

  16. The report indicated the league re-opened the investigation in the latter part of the 2011 season, which would lead me to believe they got info from a player cut by the team in the lockout-shortened free agency/training camp period. That kind of decisive evidence will make Gregg Williams cry uncle right away, like he did.

    I’m very curious to hear how many players were actually injured as a direct result of this, and if any payments can be linked to any specific injuries.

    I’m also curious how they will handle suspensions for “22 to 27” defensive players, since you’re already talking about both the first and second stringers.

    I’d pull their franchise tag and take their first pick of the next two drafts (a 2nd rounder is the case this year but I’d take their 1 next year). I’d ban the GM permanently for insubordination to his boss, the owner. Payton may have to take a pretty heavy suspension but I don’t know how long I’d do it. If Williams had the same thing going at Washington, his apology today would be an incredibly insincere piece of crap, so I’d ban his ass, too.

    And I’d tell Tim Tebow not to pray for them.

  17. Haha, let’s get rid of defense all together. How dare these defenders try to hurt valuable offensive players. Fans are more wussier than ever. Maybe offensive line men and frankly all the offense do their jobs better. They have a lot of advantages already. Ridiculous. And I’m a Colts fan.

  18. Here’s how the penalties should come down:

    Williams – Lifetime ban (absolutely no place in the game for a coach to be paying for this in light of the recent safety issues and concussion lawsuits)
    Sean Payton & Mickey Loomis – 1 year ban + $1M each; both have to apply for reinstatement
    Saints – 1st round pick for next 3 years (highest pick in draft, so if they trade for another team’s 1st round pick, they forfeit whichever pick is highest)
    Involved Players – at least 1 game suspension and 1 additional game check fine (suspension for participating in the pool, game check fine for violating salary cap) along with potential for longer suspensions for large bounties (Vilma) and an additional 1 game suspension for any player who actually made a hit that injured and opposing player.

    Goodell has been extremely stern in his punishments (think Big Ben) and he needs to keep it up here. Anything lighter than the punishments shown above and it just shows that the NFL is not serious about player safety.

  19. I’m actually more curious what the “safety conscious” NFLPA has to say about this.

    Hard to complain about the game being to violent when people are going with an intent to injure other players…

  20. The NFL has to come down hard on this. Williams should be banned from football for encouraging such behavior. Payton at least 8 games, because let’s face it, he knew it was going on or should have.
    The real grey area is in regards to the players who actively participated in this. What should be done to them, and how exactly do you qualify any possible infraction?
    It will be interesting to see what the NFLPA stance on this is.

  21. Give the Vikings the Saints first round pick, the Cardinals their second round. Suspend all players that participated for min 4 games, both coaches for a year.
    The course of NFL history was altered by this D I R T B A G team and they did not deserve to play in the Superbowl. Big difference between playing agressive D and paying to have players taken out on a cart.
    NFL, you look like hell.

  22. I hope Peyton Manning wins his 100Million Dollar Civil Suit against Williams, Snyder for loss of career do to hit by Redskins head hunter.

    We all knew it was a dirty play years ago!!!! Just no evidence to prove it till now!

  23. Neither the NFL nor the fans will view putting players lives in jeopardy as seriously as filming play calling from the sidelines (rather than from the stands as is currently allowed)

    The sheer volume of fans who are ignorant about the NFL allowing play calling filming is the reason the NFL dealt with Belichick so harshly. Quite simply there was a perception that signal stealing was “cheating” when in fact the NFL allows it as long as its filmed from the stands

    How fans delude themselves about why all coordinators and coaches cover their mouths when calling in plays, I will never understand – but in this case I think most NFL fans EXPECT that bounties are placed on the health of good players and will not demand Goodell to take action.

    With Goodell, perception, not reality, is everything when metering out punishment.

  24. I think a fair penalty would be.. loss of 2012 franchise tag, loss of 2012 and 2013 draft picks, 1 year suspension for HC, GM, and Williams and lastly 10 million loss cap penalty

  25. Here is what will or will not occur:

    First off, Sean Payton is not going to be suspended. That’s not going to happen. Maybe Gregg Williams, but not Sean Payton. Bill Belichick didn’t get suspended one single game for Spygate, and it’s not going to happen here.

    Secondly, a large fine will occur. Williams and Payton are going to have to pay, I feel certain. The only thing that could save Payton is that he didn’t personally institute the program whereas Belichick personally instituted the Spygate program which is why he had to pay such a huge fine. This seems like more of a Gregg Williams problem than a Sean Payton problem.

    I still can’t believe that the defensive players (like Jonathan Vilma for instance) went along with this but football players aren’t rocket scientists and it seems like the Gregg Williams “culture” included annihilation of people.

  26. Please. Look at all the high horsed fans here. Most NFL teams do this and its naive to think otherwise. Just wait till it all comes out. Not good for anyone. Sounds like at the very least every where GWilliams went he did this so I find it amusing this thing is pinned on the Saints right now.

    The interesting question is why did this come out now. Who snitched? Is this a way of the NFL combatting the concussion lawsuit by pinning it on illegal activity by players unsanctioned by the league?

  27. This will be an opportunity for Goodell to prove that he is a steward of the integrity of the game. Purposely injuring someone is assault. It doesn’t matter if it is on a street corner or a football field.

    There is really no choice in this….these coaches should be removed (permanently) as well as any team administrator who is aware. The only debate should be how many draft choices to penalize a team.

  28. Given the fact that former longtime NFLPA President Kevin Mawae effectively ended Shawne Merriman’s career shortly after Fisher was “allegedly” overheard by Charger players yelling at Titan players to “Get him!!” Vince Young ran running into Merriman while not keeping his head on a swivel, I’m wondering how heavy the NFLPA will come down on the situation?

    Fisher is “Mr. Clean” to those in NFL headquarters, but I’ve always had no doubt that he ran a dirty ship in Tennessee.

  29. Another way to consider this:

    Approximately 25 people pooled their money and conspired to cause severe bodily harm to another human being.

    If 25 people at my work pooled their money and gave out rewards if they could drive other people off the road in their cars, you would have a criminal conspiracy and likely everyone would go to jail.

    Hopefully some District Attorney has the guts to start asking around and see how deep this really went.

  30. I can’t believe all the morons who think it is acceptable for players to intentionally hurt each other…

    By that logic, everyone should just go after everybody elses knees before, during, and after the play. While they are the sidelines, in the tunnel, whereever — then lets refs flag them for 15 yards.

    The team with anyone standing to finish the game wins.

  31. Darren Sharper says he never heard anything about this, and it makes no sense for players to make an illegal hit for a $1,000 bounty, when the league fine is 10 times or 20 times that amount.

    Mickey Loomis will be fired for lying to two superiors, and others will be suspended. But can we please wait for five minutes of facts to emerge from an investigation before we crucify entire teams?

  32. Seems like yesterday when people were calling Vikings fans sore losers or whiners when they complained about the hits that took place during the NFCC game. Didn’t comment at the time because other Vikings fans were saying what I was thinking. It’s nice to see that everyone else is finally seeing and hearing about what Vikings fans saw in that NFCC game. Welcome to the bandwagon.

    I had always liked the Saints until that game but had never really paid any attention to their games and how they played until the NFCC. Even before the game I thought, well, if we lose to the Saints, at least they’re a good team and I don’t hate them like some others. I came away from that game, however, with a completely different attitude and it wasn’t because we lost. It was the visciousness of the hits, especially on Favre, and the fact that the refs looked the other way when they were downright illegal. Now, even though Favre was our QB, I was never a fan of his, and never will be. However, it doesn’t matter who the QB is or which team is playing. The Saints were dirty…and getting paid for it. And they’re still dirty.

    Saints? Not so much anymore.

  33. I got caught speeding once, and told the cop “everybody out here is going as fast as I am, they are all speeding” his reply? “But YOU are the one I caught”
    The point is, I don’t give a crap how many teams do this. The Saints got caught. If there is no suspension for Williams and Peyton,there is no justice. These guys are beyond rich. They don’t care if they get fined one, two or three million each. TAKE THEIR JOBS AWAY. The penalty for this shouls be the toughest one ever dished out. It should be precedent setting.

  34. Its about time the NFL takes a page out of Major League Baseball’s book and wipes the Saints out of the record book for the last 3 years. I’m talking about yanking the Vikings’s superbowl trophy from them and taking all of the rings. The coaches and players involved should have a lifetime ban and they should lose a lot of draft picks. I’ve known this since the ’09 NFL championship.. It was disgusting what they did to Brett Favre and the NFL should be ashamed that their hired referees let it happen. Anyone who actually payed attention to that game can tell that they were deliberately trying to injure him.


    Please, would all you self righteous fans of loser teams shut the hell up.

    This is a juicy story but I think we will find that it’s not quite as bad as everyone is blowing it up to be.

    But it gives pft a lot of clicks in an otherwise dead time of year so slop it up pigs, errr sheep!

  36. they should be striped of the title and forever loose all first 3 rounds of the draft and that would be a start

  37. I was well over and made peace with how my Vikings lost the NFC championship game in 09. Yes i was like the rest and said the saints got ‘non-calls’ and all that. We were all called cryin babies, i understand that. But when this comes out…it irritates the —- out of me.
    I know it was the saints magical season, but it was my Vikes magical season also, we come along about once in a decade and bring a team to the table that is highly favored against anyone and we always find a way to lose, i get that.
    But to hear this is a new low. I could be way off, but does this go deeper then just the saints locker room? Were the refs paid to look the other way, sorry that sounds like a viking fan with blinders on but come on man?

  38. jvaughan82 says:
    Mar 2, 2012 11:21 PM
    Another way to consider this:

    Approximately 25 people pooled their money and conspired to cause severe bodily harm to another human being.

    If 25 people at my work pooled their money and gave out rewards if they could drive other people off the road in their cars, you would have a criminal conspiracy and likely everyone would go to jail.

    Hopefully some District Attorney has the guts to start asking around and see how deep this really went.


    In a league, that is increasingly becoming a flag football league with QB’s getting the majority of roughing calls….one could say the bounties constitute a “revolutionary act”.

    If the object is to stop the opponent from scoring, this is a natural evolution of the game, and an extension of the “win at all costs” corporate state. The ends justify the means. You cannot hope to extend criminal acts to a game – this isnt Rollerball, its football, right?

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