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The NFL’s official announcement regarding bounty discipline

[Editor’s note:  The NFL has issued a formal announcement of the punishment meted out for the three-year bounty system maintained by the Saints, from 2009 through 2011.  The full statement appears below, unedited.]

Commissioner Roger Goodell notified the New Orleans Saints today of the discipline that will be imposed on team management for violations of the NFL’s long-standing “bounty” rule that endangered player safety over a three-year period.

Discipline for individual players involved in the Saints’ prohibited program continues to be under review with the NFL Players Association and will be addressed by Commissioner Goodell at a later date. The program included “bounty” payments for “knock-outs” and “cart-offs,” plays on which an opposing player was forced to leave the game. At times, the bounties even targeted specific players by name.

The NFL’s extensive investigation established the existence of an active bounty program on the Saints during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons in violation of league rules, a deliberate effort to conceal the program’s existence from league investigators, and a clear determination to maintain the program despite express direction from Saints ownership that it stop as well as ongoing inquiries from the league office.

“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.”

Following the March 2 announcement of the NFL’s initial findings, the league office conducted further investigation, including Commissioner Goodell meeting with many of the key individuals involved, sometimes on multiple occasions. The commissioner also discussed the matter with the leadership of the NFL Players Association and individual players.

Based on the record, Commissioner Goodell has imposed the following discipline on Saints management:

The New Orleans Saints are fined $500,000. In addition, because the violation involves a competitive rule, the Saints will forfeit their selections in the second round of the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts.

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective April 1.

Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season.

Former Saints (and current St. Louis Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely from the NFL, effective immediately. Commissioner Goodell will review Coach Williams’ status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether to reinstate him, and, if so, on what terms. Commissioner Goodell said he will give close attention to the extent to which Coach Williams cooperates with the NFL in any further proceedings.

Saints assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt is suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games of the 2012 season.

The Saints and the individuals disciplined today are expected to participate in efforts led by the league office to develop programs that will instruct players and coaches at all levels of the game on the need for respect for the game and those who participate in it, on principles of fair play, safety and sportsmanship, and to ensure that bounties will not be part of football at any level.

Commissioner Goodell stated that the actions of the individuals disciplined today violated league rules and constituted conduct detrimental to the league and players. He said the existence of a pay-for-performance/bounty program undermined the integrity of the game. The violations were compounded by the failure of Coach Payton to supervise the players and coaches and his affirmative decision starting in 2010 (a) not to inquire into the facts concerning the pay-for-performance/bounty program even though he was aware of the league’s inquiries both in 2010 and 2012; (b) to falsely deny that the program existed; (c) to encourage the false denials by instructing assistants to “make sure our ducks are in a row;” and (d) to ignore instructions from the league office and club ownership to ensure that no such program existed.

“Beyond the clear and continuing violations of league rules, and lying to investigators, the bounty program is squarely contrary to the league’s most important initiatives – enhancing player health and safety and protecting the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Goodell said. “Let me be clear. There is no place in the NFL for deliberately seeking to injure another player, let alone offering a reward for doing so. Any form of bounty is incompatible with our commitment to create a culture of sportsmanship, fairness, and safety. Programs of this kind have no place in our game and we are determined that bounties will no longer be a part of the NFL.”

A 2007 amendment to the NFL Constitution and By-Laws obligated coaches and supervisory employees “to communicate openly and candidly with the principal owner and/or his designated representative; to ensure that club ownership is informed on a complete and timely basis of all matters affecting the club’s operations; and to avoid actions that undermine or damage the club’s reputation or operating success.” The obligation to supervise the coaching staff and players is also expressly set forth in the employment agreement signed by Coach Payton.

Commissioner Goodell said he will separately address potential sanctions for players and others with documented involvement in the bounty program.

“While I will not address player conduct at this time, I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players – including leaders among the defensive players – embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players,” Commissioner Goodell said. “While all club personnel are expected to play to win, they must not let the quest for victory so cloud their judgment that they willingly and willfully target their opponents and engage in unsafe and prohibited conduct intended to injure players.”

While NFL staff has interviewed people in connection with public allegations of bounty programs at other clubs, no evidence was established showing that the programs at other clubs involved targeting opposing players or rewarding players for injuring an opponent. Commissioner Goodell emphasized that if additional information is brought to his attention that discloses bounties offered for injuring specific opposing players, he will revisit the matter to consider additional discipline.

The findings in the league’s investigation, corroborated by multiple independent sources, conclusively established the following:

1. The Saints defensive team operated a pay-for-performance/bounty program, primarily funded by players, during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons. Under that program, players regularly made cash “donations” to a pool, and were “fined” for mental errors, loafing, penalties, and the like. At least one assistant coach (defensive coordinator Gregg Williams) also occasionally contributed to the pool. There is no evidence that any club money was contributed to the program.

2. Payments were made for plays such as interceptions or fumble recoveries. All such payments are against league rules. Payments also were made for plays on which opposing players were injured. In addition, specific players were sometimes targeted. The investigation showed bounties being placed on four quarterbacks of opposing teams – Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Kurt Warner. Multiple sources have confirmed that several players pledged funds toward bounties on specific opposing players, with defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offering $10,000 to any player who knocked Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game in 2010.

3. Coach Williams acknowledged that he designed and implemented the program with the assistance of certain defensive players. He said that he did so after being told by Saints Head Coach Sean Payton that his assignment was to make the defense “nasty.” Coach Williams described his role as overseeing record keeping, defining payout amounts, deciding on who received payouts, and distributing envelopes with cash to players who “earned” rewards.

4. In each of the 2009-2011 seasons, the Saints were one of the top five teams in the league in roughing the passer penalties. In 2009 and 2011, the Saints were also in the top five teams in unnecessary roughness penalties; in 2010, the Saints ranked sixth in the category. In the January 16, 2010 divisional playoff game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saints defensive players were assessed $15,000 in fines for fouls committed against opposing players. The following week, in the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings, Saints defensive players were assessed $30,000 in fines for four separate illegal hits, several of which were directed against quarterback Brett Favre.

5. Coach Williams now acknowledges that when he was first questioned about this matter in early 2010 he intentionally misled NFL investigators and made no effort to stop the program after he became aware of the league’s investigation.

6. Coach Williams further confirmed that the program continued during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and that he occasionally contributed funds to the pool in each of those seasons.

7. Assistant Head Coach/Defense Joe Vitt acknowledged that he was aware of the program in 2009-2011. He admitted that, when interviewed in 2010, he “fabricated the truth” to NFL investigators and denied that any pay-for-performance or bounty program existed at the Saints.

8. Coach Vitt said one of his primary roles was to monitor the activity of Coach Williams. This was based on the direction of Coach Payton, who apparently had less than full confidence in Coach Williams. Despite Coach Vitt’s knowledge of the bounty program, his understanding of the terms “knock-out” and “cart-off,” his witnessing Coach Williams handing out envelopes that he believed to contain cash, and his acknowledgement that the defensive meeting preceding the 2010 NFC Championship Game may have “got out of hand” with respect to Brett Favre, Coach Vitt claimed he never advised either Coach Payton or General Manager Mickey Loomis of the “pay-for-performance/bounty” program.

9. A summary prepared following a Saints preseason game included the statement, “1 Cart-off – Crank up the John Deer (sic) Tractor” in reference to a hit on an opposing player. Similar statements are reflected in prepared documents or slides in connection with other games in multiple seasons. A review of the game films confirms that opposing players were injured on the plays identified in the documents.

10. When interviewed in 2012, Sean Payton claimed to be entirely unaware of the program, a claim contradicted by others. Further, prior to the Saints’ opening game in 2011, Coach Payton received an email from a close associate that stated in part, “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers (sic).” When shown the email during the course of the investigation, Coach Payton stated that it referred to a “bounty” on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

11. In early 2010, Mr. Loomis advised Coach Payton that the league office was investigating allegations concerning a bounty program. Coach Payton said that he met with his top two defensive assistants, Coach Williams and Coach Vitt, in advance of the interview with league investigators and told them, “Let’s make sure our ducks are in a row.” Remarkably, Coach Payton claimed that he never inquired of Coach Williams and Coach Vitt as to what happened in the interviews, never asked them if a “pay-for-performance” or bounty program was in fact in place, and never gave any instructions to discontinue such a program.

12. In January 2012, prior to the Saints’ first playoff game of the 2011 season, Coach Payton was advised by Mr. Loomis that the league office had reopened the investigation. Coach Payton made a cursory inquiry but took no action to ensure that any bounty program was discontinued.

13. General Manager Mickey Loomis was not present at meetings of the Saints defense at which bounties were discussed and was not aware of bounties being placed on specific players. Mr. Loomis became aware of the allegations regarding a bounty program no later than February 2010 when he was notified of the investigation into the allegations during a meeting with NFL Executive Vice President-Football Operations Ray Anderson. He was directed to ensure that any such program ceased immediately. By his own admission, Mr. Loomis did not do enough to determine if a pay-for-performance/bounty program existed or to end any such program that did exist.

14. Saints owner Tom Benson notified Mr. Loomis in January 2012 prior to the team’s participation in the playoffs that the league’s investigation had been reopened. Mr. Benson reiterated his position that a bounty program was unacceptable and instructed Mr. Loomis to ensure that if a bounty program existed at the Saints it would stop immediately. By his own admission, Mr. Loomis responded to this direction by making only cursory inquiries of Coaches Payton and Williams. He never issued instructions to end the bounty program to either the coaching staff or the players.

15. There is no evidence that Saints ownership had any knowledge of the pay-for-performance or bounty program. There is no evidence that any club funds were used for the program. Ownership made clear that it disapproved of the program, gave prompt and clear direction that it stop, and gave full and immediate cooperation to league investigators.

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58 Responses to “The NFL’s official announcement regarding bounty discipline”
  1. thatoneguy17 says: Mar 21, 2012 1:14 PM

    Seriously Goodell?? First the Cowboys and Redskins harsh penalties, now this?? This is ridiculous.

  2. sixjak says: Mar 21, 2012 1:15 PM

    Holeeee WUT DAT Batman. I think this is appropriate punishment. Thumbs up I’d you agree.

  3. anotheryx says: Mar 21, 2012 1:15 PM

    Wait… Payton is suspended… for the whole season?

    That’s a bit harsh.

  4. badkarma56 says: Mar 21, 2012 1:16 PM

    So the players that actually did the hurting and targeting of the players get off with nothing?

  5. TaiwanMike says: Mar 21, 2012 1:17 PM

    Totally agree. Fines, suspensions, revoked draft picks, all fair. People need to stop talking about vacating the Lombardi trophy and wins, though. Leave that for college. And really, would vacating wins change how the Saints fans remember the 2009 season? I think not.

  6. thatoneguy17 says: Mar 21, 2012 1:18 PM

    Now back to RGIII’s pro day..

  7. sojumaster says: Mar 21, 2012 1:21 PM

    James Harrison is somewhere smiling.

  8. samtoneal says: Mar 21, 2012 1:23 PM

    I don’t think this could be more thorough or well-documented. How can anyone complain about the penalties given everything listed in this statement?

  9. axespray says: Mar 21, 2012 1:26 PM

    suppose I can agree with the punishment, but “vacating their Lombardi Trophy” is just a stupid idea….

    The Bounty System didn’t work out For Buddy Ryan’s Eagles, it doesn’t automatically equate to wins… It’s no different than teams that cut block, dirty and annoying, yet these players are on those pain pills Urlacher likes, they probably won’t feel the pain til the next day.

  10. scd7 says: Mar 21, 2012 1:27 PM

    I think it’s too light. The coaches & VP should be fired, plain & simple. Not necessarily for the program itself (though that’s a big part of it), but the coverup & lying. They attempted to not only ignore the order to stop it, but tried to cover it up once it came out.

    If you or I lied repeatedly to our employer do you think we’d just be suspended then get our jobs back? Didn’t think so. We’d be out the door faster than you can say “You’re Fired!”.

    These guys are supposed to be leaders of their profession, show some integrity. You screwed up allowing the bounty program. Fine, everyone makes mistakes and if that was it I could understand a suspension. But to lie, instruct your staff to cover it up and continue to operate it for 2 more years shows a total lack of respect & integrity. They have no place in the NFL for that reason alone IMO.

  11. sixjak says: Mar 21, 2012 1:28 PM

    Full disclosure….I’m a 9er fan. State ur team and what you think.

  12. scd7 says: Mar 21, 2012 1:30 PM

    Quote: “So the players that actually did the hurting and targeting of the players get off with nothing?”

    No, their punishment will be forthcoming. The investigation by the NFLPA is still under review & the NFL will address those individuals later. This was just Part I, coaches & staff.

  13. patsfiend says: Mar 21, 2012 1:32 PM

    I think the fact that they kept doing this blatantly, after being warned specifically about it, must have increased the punishment big-time. Pretty brazen.

    That being said, I’m sure other similar programs exist, just not as openly, and the Saints win over the Colts is not tarnished in my eyes, except to remember them as a bit of a “dirty” team defensively… and they are certainly not the first one of those types of teams.

    Disclosure: I’m a Pats fan, and it’s hard to compare this to “Spygate” … just different situations entirely. This seems less like “cheating” yet seems more scummy… with the intent to hurt opposing players.

  14. ispysomething7 says: Mar 21, 2012 1:37 PM

    Who Dat! This is the biggest catastrophe to hit New Orleans since hurricane Katrina!!! Whoa!!

  15. sixjak says: Mar 21, 2012 1:37 PM

    badkarma56 says:
    Mar 21, 2012 1:16 PM
    So the players that actually did the hurting and targeting of the players get off with nothing?

     -__________________

    Uhhhh no. Specific players involvement is an ongoing investigation. Punishment meted out on players is TBD.

  16. PriorKnowledge says: Mar 21, 2012 1:38 PM

    I think the punishments are totally appropriate. And when it gets time to punish the players, I am sure it will be severe.

    When a defensive player says, “…punch them in the mouth,” he does not mean that literally.

  17. havok82 says: Mar 21, 2012 1:46 PM

    I am a Pats fan and I was admittedly surprised at the draft pick penalties. Why so harsh with the other stuff, but two second rounders? It should have been at least a first. I’d view this as a whole lot worse than Spygate (and Goodell has to as well considering the punishment). With Spygate, you cannot guarantee that signal taping would lead to a win. That’s not the case here. They made a point to injure and knock out Favre in that title game. They did on an illegal hit. I can’t say that taping gave the Pats any competitive advantage, but I can say knocking the other team’s QB out of a game would.

    Still, that’s some crazy suspensions. I’d love to see Vegas’ odds on the Saints now.

  18. bozorocks says: Mar 21, 2012 1:46 PM

    None of the punishments are harsh enough. As far as I am concerned, all involved should be banned from the game for life and law enforcement actively involved to bring real justice to the players who were hurt or could have been hurt. If have had given an envelope with cash to someone to hurt my kids or spouse or anyone and got caught denying, lying or fabricating stories I would land in jail with no questions asked. To all who say why so harsh.. let me say if it was your knee that got damaged for life or your head that suffered a concussion, would you not want real justice as provided by the law. I am outraged that this all they got.

  19. cowboycjn says: Mar 21, 2012 1:49 PM

    Ok – now that justice has been passed lets get on with getting ready for next season and hope the Saints can knock the crap out of those other teams and still go to the playoffs.
    Geaux Saints –
    Boy would that be ever cool to go to the SB without a head coach! The bayou boys can do it.

  20. borisbulldog says: Mar 21, 2012 2:06 PM

    Who dat record gonn be? 4-12!

    Geaux Saints!

  21. iluvbears says: Mar 21, 2012 2:11 PM

    Now they need to punish the organization with a huge find and loss of multiple high draft picks. They gained a Super Bowl victory through cheating and it is the least they should have to give up for that.

  22. dad0731 says: Mar 21, 2012 2:12 PM

    The thing I don’t understand is a warning was given back in 2009, by the NFL. Which means the NFL knew about it back then and did nothing about it. Why?

  23. dolfandon says: Mar 21, 2012 2:12 PM

    I actually think they should consider themselves lucky to only be suspended. Williams knew he was gone and to have any hope of ever coming back at any capacity shold be viewd as a gift by the commish.

  24. meytonpanning says: Mar 21, 2012 2:16 PM

    The Cowboys and Redskins were the only two teams stupid enough to ignore multiple salary-cap warnings so I don’t think their punishment was harsh.

    Also, I think this is fair seeing how many players they’ve hurt (look the hit on Peyton where they yanked his neck back, many believe its what started his neck problems).

    Good job Goodell for removing corruption.

  25. obaig11 says: Mar 21, 2012 2:56 PM

    Can the player’s whom were targeted potentially sue the Saints, or the individuals for having a bounty program in place? The NFL has the invidence to prove so supposedly. I know it is unlikey to happen but it would be interesting topic.

  26. chawk12thman says: Mar 21, 2012 3:02 PM

    Good Job Goodell! Not just for penalizing for the actual bounty program, but for the lies by Payton and staff during the investigation.

    Sorry for St. Louis having to lose their Def Coordinator, but I am glad he isn’t going to get a chance to institute his program there.

  27. chip56 says: Mar 21, 2012 3:16 PM

    1. Players haven’t been suspended YET doesn’t mean they won’t be suspended.

    2. Good to see Williams and Payton get hammered with this – if it was a slap on the wrists and a couple of bucks in fines coaches would still do it. A coach will think twice about risking his entire season.

    3. This isn’t exactly Sean Payton’s first misdead – remember the whole drug stealing scandal a couple of years ago.

  28. olcap says: Mar 21, 2012 3:30 PM

    It’s not nearly enough. You’ve failed again Goodell, and just watch, Williams will be back in the league by 2013, I’ll bet. That scumbag should never be allowed any access to any NFL team for the rest of his miserable life.

  29. jayinatlanta says: Mar 21, 2012 4:08 PM

    I’m a Falcons fan my whole life, and a Saints fan almost as long, even given our divisional rivalry. I was almost as ecstatic when the Saints won the Superbowl as I would have been if my hometown team had won.

    I believe these penalties are necessary and fair. A bounty system this organized and this brutal is absolutely unacceptable.

    I too will look forward to how the players themselves are penalized. Records apparently exist on the payouts as well as the injuries. I’d review those records and would probably start by fining them 25x the amount they made, and then suspend them each for half a season.

  30. sabatimus says: Mar 21, 2012 4:10 PM

    I agree with the penalties, and even think they might be a bit lenient, but I also don’t believe a few key things that Goodell says above. Such as: “We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities.”. They tolerate the CULTURE just fine, and condone it. Just don’t get caught. The “player safety” stuff is also a total joke.

  31. sabatimus says: Mar 21, 2012 4:12 PM

    Most insane part about this: Payton loses 8 MILLION DOLLARS in being suspended without pay. Now THERE’S a STATEMENT, and I’m all for it.

  32. bear0402 says: Mar 21, 2012 4:17 PM

    Who dat der gonna coach dem Saints!?!?!?

  33. mx429 says: Mar 21, 2012 5:03 PM

    Now suspend Vilma for a year for his encouragement, organization and administration of the system.

    Jonathan Vilma is the product of a program (UM) long noted for such tactics, unsportsmanlike conduct and open defiance of the rules. It’s not a coincidence that former UM players are among the most penalized and fined players in the NFL. I sincerely hope Al Golden can make the changes necessary to bring the program back to relevance in the NCAA, but with dignity and a sense of fair play. Unfortunately, the low-social class gangster culture so prevalent in Miami at large pervades the program to it’s core.

  34. packerfanfordecades says: Mar 21, 2012 5:24 PM

    I’m impressed with the depth of the investigation and the compilation of evidence. Well done NFL.

    I’m guessing that the penalties handed out to some players are going to be eye-openers too, given the amount of evidence that must sit on the commissioner’s desk.

    Wow.

    Given the league’s positive evaluation of Tom Benson’s involvement and ethics on this, I’m thinking that Mr. Benson has to be considering some terminations to separate himself and the organization from this tarnish. Why not get a different head coach now rather than waste waiting a year to get a gravely wounded Payton back ?

    .

  35. thetooloftools says: Mar 21, 2012 5:30 PM

    I’m guessing people are learning very quickly that you do NOT mess with this Commish. He has a bat and is swinging it.
    RIGHT ON !

  36. NakedCowboy! says: Mar 21, 2012 5:33 PM

    nicely done!
    IMO punishment for players should be lighter (1-4 games ban and some fine) as the program was institutionalized. It wasn’t being run by a group of players.

    Also their should be asterisk next to the super bowl win… i can never forget the photo of Farve’s ankle after that game… you have to wonder what would have happened in that game if farve wasn’t knocked down so much… same deal with kurt warner…

  37. jswheeler says: Mar 21, 2012 5:35 PM

    Only a 500,000 fine for the team? what a crock… should have been 2-3 mil with that number counting towards their salary cap. maybe even higher.

  38. glynners says: Mar 21, 2012 5:39 PM

    How many people actually read the entire statement before commenting?

    Biggest crock of crap I’ve ever read

  39. q1ller says: Mar 21, 2012 5:45 PM

    Um.. but uh.. we haven’t heard Darren Sharper’s response to the above. I am sure he can explain everything.

    He’s a lying idiot who’s so infatuated with seeing his face on TV that he doesn’t realize what moron he looks like.

  40. westmantooth says: Mar 21, 2012 5:59 PM

    This seems like an appropriate punishment, but it is unfair in the sense that the Patriots ACTUALLY CHEATED multiple times and received punishment that was not nearly as close to as severe as this.

  41. dspears06 says: Mar 21, 2012 5:59 PM

    Bunch of no good low lifes. They should be banned from the game til they rot

  42. bigshooter41 says: Mar 21, 2012 6:38 PM

    The penalty was not enough. They should have lost both first round picksas well. When it comes time to punish the players, if they are still with the saints, they should e suspended for the year without pay. If they are with another team, they should be allowed to play so as not to punish the current team they are on, but they should play without pay for the year.

  43. samuelb86 says: Mar 21, 2012 6:44 PM

    This seems like a harsh penalty for players playing hard and doing what they are paid to do. There are monetary incentives for all NFL positions. RB and WR yards, Sacks, etc. The Refs and league already penalize players for what they believe to be rough or dirty hits. That should be the end of it. Peyton out for a year and loosing millions? In my option Belichick’s and the Patriots’ violations were far worse.

  44. ishoulbeagm says: Mar 21, 2012 7:04 PM

    If you have never played football (defense in particular) then you don’t understand the mentality. You can’t. It takes a killer instinct to play this game! There is no better feeling than hitting a man so hard that he cannot get up! We celebrate it. The team rallies around big plays like it. The want to cause pain to, not injure, someone in this sport is in essense what makes it so great. If you don’t think that every team Micheal Vick plays intends to knock him out of the game than you are only fooling yourself. It is not a part of the game it IS the game! Causing pain to opposing players is what you do! Not injure. Hurt! There is a big difference.

  45. prplpuzzetrz says: Mar 21, 2012 7:10 PM

    As a die hard Vikings fan, the loss of the NFCCG was pure and simple the result of the Vikings, fumbling and bumbling the ball, poor play calling & breaking down due to the pressure! The blatant hits on Favre were apparent and the Vikings did nothing to protect Favre. That blame is on the purple
    Squad.
    After reading the gathered evidence against the Saints, I have little sympathy due to the ongoing cover-up, and disregard for the leagues inquiry and investigation! Sad day in the NFL, just makes the league and the fans of the sport look foolish. Think of all the Tree hugging lefties that already think this sport is barbaric and vulgar.

  46. mx429 says: Mar 21, 2012 7:15 PM

    ishoulbeagm: “If you have never played football (defense in particular) then you don’t understand the mentality”

    This is the sort of trashy, ghetto attitude that’s been allowed to proliferate that causes all the problems. It’s the reason that trash players like Vilma can convince others to participate. Yes, you hit the opposing player, you help them up and hen hit them again on the next play. But never with the intention of causing more pain than is necessary to MAKE THE PLAY. The lack of a sense of sportsmanship is unreal, and ignorant statements like yours denigrate the game and the players who play it right, with a sense of dignity.

  47. hescominsoon says: Mar 21, 2012 7:27 PM

    The GM and any coaches involved still employed by the Saints should immediatly be fired as he has full cause to do so. Any players involved should be immideatly released as well. That’s hte only way to truly put an end to this at least inside the Saints organization.

  48. billgenovese says: Mar 21, 2012 8:15 PM

    Comparison of Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    Selig:
    1. Clear evidence of steroid use starting after lockout year of 1994.
    2. Allegation of steroids and other PED’s in 1998 during McGuire and Sosa chase denied outright by baseball executives.
    3. Years of nothing done because we can’t get players union to agree excuse. Still denial by baseball’s highest executives saying that only a few used steroids.
    4. After very public outcry about steroids finally starts testing with punishment in 2004.
    5. No clear message ever from commissioner.

    Goodell:
    1. Hear that bounties are being done in 2009.
    2. Start investigation 2010.
    3. Direct all parties to stop immediately.
    4. Develop facts through investigation that show lies and inconsistencies.
    5. Fines, loss of draft picks, suspensions. More to come.
    6. Message loud and clear

    Commissioner Goodell > Commissioner Selig

  49. jameslongstaffe says: Mar 21, 2012 9:12 PM

    I have always been a supporter of Goodell, it’s just my opinion. I think you need a strong leader to keep everyone in line when you have so many competing interests. Commissioner Goodell sent a clear message today, & it is the kind of harsh penalty that will ring in the ears of coaches/players around the NFL. If I have learned something about football players, it is that you are obliged to protect them… often from themselves. It is such an incredibly violent game & the emotions run so high, that the consequences are not always understood at the time of play. The potential for a catastrophic injury to a player & person, in the setting of a structured “bounty” program, would be indefensible.

  50. theandy59 says: Mar 21, 2012 9:29 PM

    People never seem to get it…it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up! What really has the Saints in this situation isn’t the bounty program per se – it was the fact that on three separate occasions over three years, the players and coaches lied to the league investigators, and then brazenly continued the practice. If the Saints had lied about the 2009 episodes, but at least stopped the practice starting in 2010, there would probably have never even been another investigation. There simply is no comparison between the Saints behavior and that of the Patriots with Spygate.

  51. cornersss says: Mar 21, 2012 9:46 PM

    “In each of the 2009-2011 seasons, the Saints were one of the top five teams in the league in roughing the passer penalties. In 2009 and 2011, the Saints were also in the top five teams in unnecessary roughness penalties; in 2010, the Saints ranked sixth in the category.”

    Wow. That says a lot with connection to the bounty program

  52. cornersss says: Mar 21, 2012 9:51 PM

    “15. There is no evidence that Saints ownership had any knowledge of the pay-for-performance or bounty program. There is no evidence that any club funds were used for the program. Ownership made clear that it disapproved of the program, gave prompt and clear direction that it stop, and gave full and immediate cooperation to league investigators.”

    Now this i dont buy. I think goodel did the right thing, but hes protecting the owner here. Whats a $500,000 fine for a multi million dollar team?I also dont buy ownership was clueless, asked for it to be stop and was in the dark about it.

    Sounds too easy an excuse as why he stood by. Those coaches are loyal enough to take the fall for ownership.

    What do they care, they got a ring out of all this and no matter how many picks you take you wont take the ring away,and thats all that matters, and they proved it.

  53. cornersss says: Mar 21, 2012 9:53 PM

    What people dont realize is these late hits and helmet shots are hitting players that let up because of whistles or knowing they shouldn’t be hit in their situation. I get you dont let your guard down, but you cant guard against people being dirty.

  54. yajas says: Mar 21, 2012 10:02 PM

    glynners says: “How many people actually read the entire statement before commenting? Biggest crock of crap I’ve ever read”

    I read every word of it and agree with it 100%. I wouldn’t want any part of the NFL if bounties for hurt players was accepted. What makes it crap?

  55. msstiller58 says: Mar 21, 2012 10:10 PM

    I still can’t help wondering about the officials. Tell me they never noticed that Favre was getting unnecessary roughness? It took a weekend for nfl bigwigs to watch and determine fines? I’ll never believe that.

  56. jameslongstaffe says: Mar 21, 2012 10:16 PM

    Indefensible as a person & player… law is another matter, but I know that hockey players have been charged with criminal offences for assault, for plays that crossed the line & resulted in injury. What would happen in death?

  57. jackericsson says: Mar 21, 2012 11:27 PM

    Vacate!

  58. nflfan555 says: Mar 22, 2012 12:07 AM

    Spygate – looks pretty darn silly now…. Go get em Rog

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