As expected, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the suspensions of Saints head coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for their roles in the Saints’ bounty scandal.
That means Payton will begin his suspension in one week, on April 16, and will be barred from the team until the end of the 2012 season. Loomis will be suspended for the first eight games of the regular season and Vitt will be suspended for the first six games of the regular season, with both of those suspensions beginning when the preseason ends.
The league’s announcement said Goodell gave “careful consideration” to the appeals that Payton, Loomis and Vitt filed, but no one seriously believed there was any chance that he would shorten their suspensions.
Goodell did, however, say he would consider lessening the financial penalties that the three men will face, “If they embrace the opportunity and participate in a constructive way.” In other words, if they speak out in favor of the culture change that Goodell has demanded, Goodell may not make them all forfeit all the salaries they would ordinarily miss out on during their suspensions.
Goodell also said he would re-consider the Saints’ forfeiture of their 2013 second-round draft pick.
The league says Goodell will revisit the status of Payton, Loomis and Vitt at the time that their suspensions end — signaling that the three men need to be positive participants in that culture change he wants if they want their suspensions to end on schedule.