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NFL’s carrot could be keeping coaches in line

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Regardless of whether Sean Payton and Gregg Williams fear the NFL’s stick, they have good reason to be concerned that the NFL will remove its carrot.

Lost to date in the discussion regarding whether coaches caught up in the bounty scandal fear retribution from the league office if they talk is the reality that there’s something other than possible retribution at play here.

When the NFL rejected the appeals of Payton, interim head coach Joe Vitt, G.M. Mickey Loomis, and the Saints, the league extended an olive branch of sorts.

“The club and the individuals will be expected to cooperate in any further proceedings and to assist in the development and implementation of programs to instruct players and coaches at all levels on principles of player safety, fair play, and sportsmanship,” the league explained in its April 9 announcement.

“If they embrace the opportunity and participate in a constructive way, Commissioner Goodell said he would consider mitigating the financial penalties on the individuals.  In the case of the team, the Commissioner would consider whether there are factors that would support modifying the forfeiture of the team’s 2013 second-round draft choice.”

And so Payton, Vitt, and the Saints have a strong incentive to say or do nothing that in any way could be characterized as anything other than cooperation with the league’s overall mission.  If they do, Payton and Vitt may get some of their money back — and the Saints could recover the team’s second-round pick in 2013, with the lost pick replaced by the forfeiture of one or more picks in lower rounds.

That said, there’s also a stick lurking in the league’s ruling:  “At the conclusion of their suspensions, the Commissioner will review the status of each of the three individuals to determine their eligibility for reinstatement.”

The smart move for Payton, Vitt, Loomis, the Saints generally, and Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (who didn’t appeal but who likewise must apply for reinstatement) will be to say nothing at all publicly, in order to avoid any risk that the league will be nudged toward concluding that they have failed to cooperate.

Of course, that didn’t stop Vitt from sounding off.  Ultimately, it may not stop Williams from doing the same.  But it’s likely an important reason why we haven’t heard more from the non-players who were suspended.

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13 Responses to “NFL’s carrot could be keeping coaches in line”
  1. akhhorus says: Jun 27, 2012 1:02 PM

    What, exactly, would stop the coaches from suing the NFL in fed court or filing a grievance to keep the NFL from punishing them like the Saints players are threatening to do? If the NFL had the power to force the coaches to sing the tune that they wanted them to, why didn’t they pressure the players into doing the same?

    I realize that this blog clearly wants to push an agenda on this topic, but try to approach reality. The bounty system existed. The players are trying to get out of punishment for what they did.

  2. thcnote says: Jun 27, 2012 1:19 PM

    Or we could just use an ounce of common sense and say its because they are guilty.

  3. kidpresentable says: Jun 27, 2012 1:22 PM

    Vitt sounded off because he knows the terms of his suspension, and because after that he has nothing to lose. There is not a coach (not named Sean Payton) or GM who is going to hire the guy again.

    Vitt also sounded off because he’s not suspended for contributing to a bounty, he’s suspended for not stopping a bounty program. He can claim he’ll take all of the lie-detector tests he wants because A. nobody is going to take him up on it since he’s not suspended for what he’s offering to take the test for, and B. lie-detectors are unreliable and inadmissible in many states and countries so nobody will strap him to one because it would be pointless.

    Payton is a big enough name that should he lose his job some day down the line, somebody will hire him.

    Williams needs to shut up to even have the chance at coaching again.

  4. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jun 27, 2012 1:22 PM

    I’m not saying that the Saints players and coaches didn’t have a bounty program going. Gregg Williams seems guiltier than sin and at best it happened under Sean Payton’s watch.

    The problem is that an investigation can’t take place objectively when those in charge of it have a specific, desired outcome. Goodell didn’t want to know what actually happened, he just wanted to hang players and coaches.

    That is why neither he nor this investigation have any credibility at this point.

  5. CKL says: Jun 27, 2012 2:01 PM

    Maybe SP feels intimidated, who knows? But it would have to be some SERIOUS intimidation to make him not comment if he wanted to. He has stones (which I happen to like about him). I’m wondering if he didn’t talk to his very close mouthed friend BB to get advice? Even though I think the NFL went overboard on this and on cameragate, I am glad my team said nothing publicly. It just makes the controversy linger in everyone’s minds.

  6. johnblaze81 says: Jun 27, 2012 2:04 PM

    @akhhorus

    Take the tin-foil hat off and unbunch your panties. Have you not been keeping up at all?

    Unlike the players, the coaches are non-union employees. It’s not a difficult concept. Sheesh.

  7. butthatmakestoomuchsense says: Jun 27, 2012 2:29 PM

    kidpresentable says: Williams needs to shut up to even have the chance at coaching again.

    That’s the entire problem. Even if Williams is telling the truth and Goodell isn’t, the person being honest is being coerced into silence.

  8. gingerkid2000 says: Jun 27, 2012 2:33 PM

    So if they cooperate their punishments get reduced? Maybe Vilma, Smith, Fujita & Hargrove should take a page out of the coaches playbook and do the same. If the players are so worried about their “reputations,” behaving like men instead of selfish, whining babies might work more in their favor.

  9. sb44champs says: Jun 27, 2012 2:34 PM

    thcnote says:
    “Or we could just use an ounce of common sense and say its because they are guilty.”
    —————————————–
    Do you really believe that? These coaches have been biting their tongues since the NFL announced the suspensions. Do you really believe that a bunch of A-type personalities would NOT say something if they knew their wouldn’t be repercussions?? GODell will make sure to deliberately slow down the process of reinstatement if anyone of these guys go against the league’s ‘hidden’ agenda! That makes the most common sense!!

  10. sb44champs says: Jun 27, 2012 3:19 PM

    “If the players are so worried about their “reputations,” behaving like men instead of selfish, whining babies might work more in their favor.”
    ————————————–
    If by selfish and whiney you really mean brave and courageous for standing up to the ‘powers that be’ then maybe you actually have a point!

  11. Fan On Fire_Maurice Barksdale says: Jun 27, 2012 3:38 PM

    If Gregg Williams speaks out against the NFL, he’ll no longer be suspended “indefintely”, it will be for life.

  12. gbmickey says: Jun 27, 2012 3:52 PM

    i agree that if they were innocent the coaches and GM would have been screaming from the rooftops like you and would have. There was no gag order like this site initially through out there to sensationalize things. One person who can definately speak with no further repercussions is Benson but he as well chooses to keep quiet and accept his punishment for the transgression. That speaks volumes.

  13. gtodriver says: Jun 27, 2012 5:05 PM

    sb44cheaters says:

    “If by selfish and whiney you really mean brave and courageous for standing up to the ‘powers that be’ then maybe you actually have a point!”

    That’s why none of them are willing to say who said “Give me my money”…

    These brave and courageous players you talk about are all about lying and cheating. Someone on the Saints made that statement that is clearly audible on the video. If it wasn’t Hargrove – it was someone standing very close to him.

    The players know there was money on the line to knock a player (Favre, Rodgers, Warner, Newton…) out of the game.

    But not a single one is man enough to admit it.

    Whining crybabies because they got caught.

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