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Remaining Saints suspensions start Monday

Arizona Cardinals v. New Orleans Saints 8-5-2012 Getty Images

For most in the American workforce, Monday is a holiday.  For most in the NFL, it’s a workday.  For three employees of the Saints, it’s neither.

As Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune explains it, Monday is the day on which G.M. Mickey Loomis, interim coach Joe Vitt, and defensive end Will Smith will begin their suspensions.

The recent hurricane resulted in discussions regarding the possible delay of the eight-game suspension that Loomis will serve.  In the end, the Saints were unable to get a reprieve for Week One, absent an extension of the suspension through Week Nine.

While neither Loomis nor Vitt (who has been suspended six weeks) have any chance at returning early, absent the NFL equivalent of a presidential pardon, Smith could be back soon, along with linebacker Jonathan Vilma.  Very soon.

As early as Tuesday, Judge Helen G. Berrigan could issue a ruling in the pending bounty cases.  She could either overturn the suspensions, or she could lift them while she ponders a final decision.  Either way, it will be difficult if not impossible for the NFL to keep Smith, Vilma, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita off the field by successfully appealing Judge Berrigan’s decision.

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35 Responses to “Remaining Saints suspensions start Monday”
  1. eaglebobby says: Sep 3, 2012 9:03 AM

    Again, the question needs to be asked–how is this judge going to ignore precedent–that is, three previous federal judges–plus a 3 man court of appeals panel–have found in previous NFL discipline cases, that the courts cannot contravene what has been collectively bargained through the union and the managment–I mean, in the DJ Williams case, isn’t that exactly what the court said??? The appeals court as well?? What is this judge going to start writing her own laws now???

  2. jimnaizeeum says: Sep 3, 2012 9:12 AM

    Should have just suspended the coaches that knew this was going on & lied about it to investigators.

  3. gtodriver says: Sep 3, 2012 9:13 AM

    Berrigan could overturn the suspensions…

    If Berrigan were going to do that, she’d have done it already.

    She hasn’t.

    She shouldn’t.

    Mike, you finally came to your senses on the NFLRA issue, why not come to your senses on this one too?

    You practiced law – you should realize that unless Berrigan is running a Kangaroo court – she has no choice but to side with the NFL.

  4. skoobyfl says: Sep 3, 2012 9:13 AM

    One sympathetic judge is all it takes for the world to change.

  5. itsdaweasel says: Sep 3, 2012 9:16 AM

    Did the appeals panel issue a ruling yet?

  6. staugslugga says: Sep 3, 2012 9:17 AM

    What if the NFL is flat out wrong? Just because humans, fallible people, ruled in a certain manner, the judge should ignore something that is wrong? I don’t think so Tim. Get over it. You havent seen anything to make you believe there was a true bounty program in place; no one has. That’s what the players are being wrongfully punished for, both on and off the field. I don’t see how a reasonable person doesn’t see this.

  7. flipx99 says: Sep 3, 2012 9:26 AM

    eaglebobby, you can expect a well reasoned opinion without excessive punctuation.

  8. geauxjay says: Sep 3, 2012 9:26 AM

    What is this judge going to start writing her own laws now???
    ———————————-

    Roger Goodell lied about having evidence. And then when Vilma busted him for EVERY contradiction he made, he tried to change the definition of “bounty” to justify the punishment.

    If you recall, the initial punishment was because they were paying players to intentionally and maliciously start crippling players, they were warned, AND THEY DIDN’T STOP. But he couldn’t prove it.

    Now he says they were punished because they were rewarding players for big plays, where players may or may not coincidentally have gotten hurt. And everybody in the media except Florio IS LETTING HIM GET AWAY WITH IT.

    If Goodell can invent his own rules, then so can the judge.

  9. eagleswin says: Sep 3, 2012 9:30 AM

    As early as Tuesday, Judge Helen G. Berrigan could issue a ruling in the pending bounty cases. She could either overturn the suspensions, or she could lift them while she ponders a final decision. Either way, it will be difficult if not impossible for the NFL to keep Smith, Vilma, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita off the field by successfully appealing Judge Berrigan’s decision.

    ——————————–

    She could’ve done the same thing on Friday, but didn’t. That say’s to me that she still hasn’t found her “silver bullet” against the NFL.

    I find it interesting, if true, that the Saints wanted a 1 week repreive for Loomis due to the hurricane but were unwilling to offset the missing week to do it. Maybe they are anticipating trading away players at the new trade deadline.

  10. redstar504 says: Sep 3, 2012 9:48 AM

    @eagleswin
    You overlooked one minor detail. Most of metro New Orleans is without power right now and as a result all the courts have been closed thanks to Hurricane Isaac.
    It is kind of hard to issue an opinion if no one is there to issue it.

  11. nygmenruleny says: Sep 3, 2012 9:57 AM

    Geauxjay and Staugslugga – I get that you are Saints fans, and are pissed. But you guys need to have some objectivity here, not just parrot Brees and Vilma’s talking points. There was and is evidence of a bounty/pay for performance issue with the Saints. Deny it all you want, make fun of it, it doesn’t change that it is there.
    However, even if it wasn’t, the players agreed to this form of oversight with Goodell as the judge, jury, and execusioner! If they don’t like it, they should have missed game checks to change it. They didn’t, they broke the rules, and now are getting punished for it. End of story. BTW, I think that the judge will let them play in week one while the NFL gets the ruling overturned in time for week 2. I want to know what happens with Vilma’s suspension then since he is out for a year.

  12. 2ndaryinsanity says: Sep 3, 2012 10:00 AM

    I’m not a lawyer…I don’t know the in’s and out’s of collective bargaining. That being said, if the players signed the new labor deal-which included giving Roger Goodell the power to hand out suspensions/fines/etc as well as giving him the power to hear appeals…how can a judge overturn Goodell’s decision? Is there a legal precedent for something like this? Just curious.
    Initially, I was glad Goodell came down hard on everyone involved in the bounty scandal…especially in light of the fact it continued after the Saints knew the League was investigating them for it. The NFL claimed to have tons of damaging “evidence” yet showed a minimal amount of it when called on to do so. Then Goodell claims it wasn’t a bounty for injuring opponents, but a pay for play system (which also isn’t allowed, but not near as bad as paying for injuries). It’s all very suspicious, to say the least. In my opinion, Greg Williams deserves the punishment. Because there IS proof of him encouraging players to target opponents’ body parts for injury. And that’s f#*%$ up. Sean Payton is the head coach…he’s ultimately responsible for the entire team. So, giving him a 3-4 game suspension seems fair. A year seems like over-kill to me. There isn’t much actual evidence against Vilma and the other players, so I don’t think they should have been suspended.
    I believe Payton and the players got a raw deal.
    By the way…I’m not a Saints fan (Texans are my team). I’m not a Goodell hater (he’s done some good and some bad things) so I think I’m looking at this objectively.

  13. ejmat2 says: Sep 3, 2012 10:03 AM

    geauxjay says:
    Sep 3, 2012 9:26 AM
    What is this judge going to start writing her own laws now???
    ———————————-

    Roger Goodell lied about having evidence. And then when Vilma busted him for EVERY contradiction he made, he tried to change the definition of “bounty” to justify the punishment.

    If you recall, the initial punishment was because they were paying players to intentionally and maliciously start crippling players, they were warned, AND THEY DIDN’T STOP. But he couldn’t prove it.

    Now he says they were punished because they were rewarding players for big plays, where players may or may not coincidentally have gotten hurt. And everybody in the media except Florio IS LETTING HIM GET AWAY WITH IT.

    If Goodell can invent his own rules, then so can the judge.
    ———————————–
    LOL. It amazes me how Saint fans are in denial about this entire thing. If it didn’t happen then why did your head coach AND defensive coordinator, and I quote, “TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY”. Why would they take full responsibility for something that didn’t happen? You must have forgotten about that.

  14. geauxjay says: Sep 3, 2012 10:12 AM

    I understand what you said, but my issue has always been this: you can’t say they were punished for one thing and then come back four months later when you can’t prove your case and say “well…they were really punished for this because we can prove this.” You can’t have your cake and eat it too. 77 games, no coach, no GM, a million dollars, and two high draft picks for what amounts to a minor salary cap violation? Are you going to tell me that’s right?

  15. buffalose says: Sep 3, 2012 10:13 AM

    Did that guy way up there say “I don think
    So Tim”??

  16. frk49rs says: Sep 3, 2012 10:25 AM

    time for the Commissioner to up the ante. if any player other member of the staff, are allowed to play during their suspension do to a court ruling, which is then overturn, should lead to a forfeiture of games in which they played or participate. let’s see how badly they really want to play and how strongly they fill their case is just.

    I am not saying that they did it I’m just speaking from hey good order, and discipline standpoint.

  17. geauxjay says: Sep 3, 2012 10:38 AM

    If it didn’t happen then why did your head coach AND defensive coordinator, and I quote, “TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY”. Why would they take full responsibility for something that didn’t happen? You must have forgotten about that.
    ——————————————–

    And you must have forgotten that the NFL wrote those confessions and then said that they said that. Gregg Williams and Anthony Hargrove are on record as saying that they did not say what the NFL said they said.

  18. superchuck500 says: Sep 3, 2012 10:49 AM

    Eaglebobby: the facts that go directly to the legal issue in question are completely different in the Saints case than in DJ Williams. You’re misapplying that decision – plus, it is not a controlling precedent, it arises in a different circuit.

    To frk49rs: I’m pretty sure that would be a patent violation of labor law. You can’t punish employees just because a court rules in their favor, even if the ruling is later overturned. You can’t discourage access to court and due process by punishing those workers – what century do you live in?

  19. flipx99 says: Sep 3, 2012 11:07 AM

    frk49rs says:Sep 3, 2012 10:25 AM

    time for the Commissioner to up the ante. if any player other member of the staff, are allowed to play during their suspension do to a court ruling, which is then overturn, should lead to a forfeiture of games in which they played or participate. let’s see how badly they really want to play and how strongly they fill their case is just.

    I am not saying that they did it I’m just speaking from hey good order, and discipline standpoint.

    ————————————————–

    Hah, forfeit a game for complying with a court order? I doubt Goodell would be foolish enough to think that he could do that, but how I wish he would. The owners would have no choice but to terminate his employment for attempting such a silly move.

  20. robf2010 says: Sep 3, 2012 11:20 AM

    “if any player other member of the staff, are allowed to play during their suspension do to a court ruling, which is then overturn, should lead to a forfeiture of games in which they played or participate.”

    And if the ruling stands, they’re awarded four additional first round picks next year. Let’s play.

  21. nofunleague says: Sep 3, 2012 11:39 AM

    I think Saints fans, all of them, should go back to wearing bags over their heads like days of old. They seem to have their heads in the sand on this issue. Now that the season is about to start, they are realizing their season is going to suck. Oh well.

  22. nashwaakkidd says: Sep 3, 2012 11:44 AM

    when a judge says that she’s going to try and find a legal reason to rule in favor of one party, is that being impartial?? i’m no lawyer, but that must be grounds for appeal. what’s the point of having a collective agreement if the courts can step in and void it?

  23. saints4evah says: Sep 3, 2012 11:49 AM

    geauxjay…you ever get tired of arguing with brick walls?
    This is going to frag out a while longer than this season before truth and justice prevail.
    The point of one guy is right. Goodell has all the power.
    The point we are making is that Goodell lied and manipulated the system to get the outcome he wanted to make a statement so he could use it in the upcoming concussion lawsuits. He wants to be the “Safety Commissioner” and the Saints are going to be his sacrificial lambs.
    In time, this will blow back in his face, but he has tripled down on this crap to make this stick, lied and fabricated confessions…but what scares me is that he was given this power with no checks.
    We will be vindicated in time, but well after the usefulness of his witch hunt to show how he is so concerned about player safety is used in court against players in the concussion lawsuit.
    Goodell will suffer for his exaggerations and lies, but first he is covering his butt for other things. It’s a house of cards, and one day…not soon, sadly, we will have our day in a true court.
    The odds are too much in his favor. He gets to tesity, then step behind his Oz curtain and “The NFL” testifies, and then the defense which is hampered by gag orders and restrictions put in place by the CBA. Smith and the boys screwed up by fighting over money, never worried about poper oversight and made Goodell Zod. So we are screwed despite the facts,

  24. cwwgk says: Sep 3, 2012 12:07 PM

    @geauxjay: Neither the league nor Goodell authored the statement issued by Loomis and Payton in which they took full responsibility for the bounty program. Similarly, the league and Goodell did not write the statement from the Saints organization that conceded the bounty program had been operated.

    In regards to Hargrove, it was the NFLPA that issued his statement in which Hargrove described how Vitt and Williams instructed him to deny the existence of a bounty program.

    The league’s/Goodell’s case may not be airtight but it is replete with credible evidence. Primary examples being the admissions of the Saints, its GM and head coach acknowledging the NFL’s allegations are true.

  25. melikefootball says: Sep 3, 2012 12:12 PM

    The judge needs to stay away from this one. If she allows them to return than every player that has been suspended by the NFL should go to court and be repaid fro lost time. Players were bad boys and got caught…serve the time.

  26. mnvikes7897 says: Sep 3, 2012 12:15 PM

    The only thing I have to say is haaaaaa haaaaaaa! I heard Shawn Peyton put a bounty on his wife case she farted under the covers. The rest of those boys can hunt gator down in the swamp fur moneys. They’ll have to knock out a few tooths to fit in. Just put a bounty on the gators they’ll come up with a couple. Who Dat! They Dat team Dat got some players missn!

  27. teal379 says: Sep 3, 2012 12:19 PM

    geauxjay says:
    Sep 3, 2012 10:38 AM
    ——————————————–

    And you must have forgotten that the NFL wrote those confessions and then said that they said that. Gregg Williams and Anthony Hargrove are on record as saying that they did not say what the NFL said they said.

    Then those two should have been MEN and refused to sign. I know, I know – you’ll come back with “they want to work later in the NFL as players and coaches” – BS. Grow a spine, stand on your OWN 2 feet and don’t sign. Force the hand.

    As it sits – they were cowards or what they signed was the truth. Choose.

    Either you lied when you signed a false statement or you’re lying now about it being a false statement.

    Would respect both of them a ton more if they had stood up and refused to sign – again, if it wasn’t true.

    Of course that leaves the other obvious conclusion…. It’s true and they’re lying now.

  28. dr45acp says: Sep 3, 2012 12:19 PM

    still waiting to see the evidence….when i see the evidence,i’ll go along with the punishment the nfl has to give….

  29. horrificlystoopid says: Sep 3, 2012 12:32 PM

    I think all the players should go on strike until the suspended players can come back and play. Isn’t that what a UNION is all about?

  30. goodolebaghead says: Sep 3, 2012 12:33 PM

    When you combine the facts available to what the Saints players have said, it meshed pretty damn well. When you combine the facts available to what Goodell has said…well…it just doesn’t add up.

    Facts opposing team fans will never get right:
    *confessions – there never were any.
    *a ledger – there never was one, and the NFL was caught lying about it twice.
    *GWilliams speech – hard to hear if you never played defense in any football league, but no proof of a pay to injure scheme.
    *The Saints alledgedly not stopping after 2009 – seems to me ALL the evidence (if you can call it that) is from two games in 2009 that led to the accusations in the first place. No one can even figure out when else the Saints were supposedly doing this.
    *8 players and a coach have signed sworn statements under penalty of law denying these charges – guarantee Goodell NEVER will.

    So hang in there WhoDats. Let these guys spew their misinformation, when it is their team getting shafted by Der Kommisar, I will have no sympathy.

  31. jaxmc1023 says: Sep 3, 2012 12:35 PM

    Payton/Loomis’ statement acknowledges that Gregg Williams was running a Pay for Performance program and did not do enough to stop it.

    Gregg Williams: “”I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints.”

    Where in that statement does Williams (the guy who started the program) admit to having a “pay for injury” program?

  32. rmdz7 says: Sep 3, 2012 12:37 PM

    @nygmenruleny

    Dude, Saints fans aren’t denying the money pool. That has NEVER been the case. The problem Saints fans have is that the NFL painted a money pool, common amongst NFL teams, as some sort of nefarious “murder for hire” scheme that the Saints and only the Saints have ever run. Goodell made statements about Saints players putting out “bounties” to intentionally injure players. He was very careful in using the word “bounty” multiple times because of the connotation the word has, claiming he was conducting an investigation that had yielded over 50,000 pages of “evidence”, then issued unprecedented suspensions in the name of “player safety”. And Goodell went to great lengths to make the whole affair VERY public, unlike any other issue in which the NFL has been involved.

    And it was a money pool: players took some token cash (and I think we can agree $1,000 for a guy making $2,000,000 is a token) out for good plays, but put money in for bad plays as well.

    And Saints fans want to know why are the Saints being singled out. We know teams have had money pools since before the NFL was the NFL, so it can’t be the money aspect. If it is the intention to injure other players, where are the harsh penalties for:

    Ndomikong Suh, who after the whistle had blown grabbed a lineman – who was on the ground – by the head, smashed his head against the ground a few times, then stumped on him. He got 2 games. Vilma got 16 games because some disgruntled employee told the NFL Vilma offered $10,000 to “take Farve out”. The NFL has yet to provied any proof of Vilma making that statement.

    Dunta Robinson and Mike Smith: After Robinson’s 2nd or 3rd fine for spearing in 2010, Mike Smith was asked about it, and said of Robinson’s play “that’s how we coach them”.

    How about your Giants? 2 defensive players admitted targeting a guy because he had concussion issues. And this one is a ducey: First, you have at least 2 Giants players admitting at targeting a player (and don’t get me that “oh, that’s not what they meant” crap, we know what they meant). Then you have Goodell, the champion of safety play, not even raise an eyebrow, either because players admitting to targeting another, or because the 49ers allowed a guy with concussion issues to play.

    I can go on, but I guess by now you get the idea.

    Then we have all this backpedalling by the NFL and the so called “evidence” being debunked as it came out:
    * 50,000 pages of evidence became 180 pages.
    * A “3-year bounty system” became “events during the 2009 season”.
    * “Pay bounties to intentionally injure players” became “money rewards for legal hits which may have resulted in a player being taken out of the game”
    * A leakThe NFL gave the media 1 “transcribed” page from an alleged ledger no one has seen, “proving” pay to injure bounties in the 2009 Buffalo-NO game, since this ledger page showed 4 payments, and 4 Buffalo players were injured. When it was made clear that 3 of those players were playing on defense,a nd the one on offense pulled a hammie, the NFL “re-leaked” the same page as being for a Carolina-Saints game in 2009. But, only 1 player was injured in that game, in aroutine play. No more “leaks ” after that.
    * “Kill the head”, which now there’s proof at least one team paints that on the walls (Herm Edwards, where are you? Where’s your critisim now, b**ch?), and a slide that came up as part of the NFL’s “evidence” presented to the NFLPA which, if the allegations of the NFL and Goodell were correct, would mean that in 2010 the Saints injured 488 players, or about 10+ full team rosters. Man, the carnage!
    * The “give me my money” recording, which the NFL and Mary Jo White affirmed it was 100% Anthony Hardgrove saying it; the video was later debunked, and the NFL simply said “it doesn’t matter”.

    Again, I can go on, but I’ll stop here.

  33. goodolebaghead says: Sep 3, 2012 3:20 PM

    The saddest part is everything you’ve said is true. If one were to do the opposite and look at the things coaches/players have said happened, there is nothing to blow out of the water by Goodell. It all adds up. You would think ONE person would have come foward by now besides a disgruntled ex-employee, convict friend of the team who was VERY OBVIOUSLY joking, and a FAKE confession from Greg Williams. I bought the news in March as hard as everyone else. Goodell put on a hell of a show, and my opinion at the time was that a man like that must have a mountain of evidence to be making so many accusations to the media. I had never seen the NFL be so vocal about a subject. Week after week, me loathing what was happening in NOLA, I started noticing a trend. Goodell would ‘leak’ ‘proof’ out of context that looked damning. The media would jump on it, then the facts would come out and it would turn out to be false, or even OUT RIGHT LIES! How is noone pissed about the blatant lies? Now in hindsight, I see a bigger picture of a league looking for more than was there, over punishing a franchise (and it’s fanbase, paying fans.)

    I don’t mind the punishments. As a Saints fan, I personally feel like we have the best storyline in the league this season. The team is choked with talent, and events last season perfectly prepared us for the losses we’ve taken this offseason. No other team could have withstood this much scrutiny and still be the nucleus they are.

    I DO MIND feeling like my favorite sport lied to me, made me sad about the state of my team (and part of my life history.) And I think I speak for a lot of us, that we’re just mad because Goodell napalmed a whole organization for what a slap on the wrist could have solved.

    And BTW, someone show me ANYTHING that says anything shady happened after they asked the Saints to stop.

  34. gennieleko says: Sep 3, 2012 3:26 PM

    rmdz7 says – Great outline.

    I also love how so many people, Hargrove especially but also Payton, Vitt… are being punished for lying to investigators yet not a single statement has been produced showing anything said to investigators at all – by any parties.

  35. sbdt says: Sep 4, 2012 12:50 AM

    I’m a life long Saints fan and there is only one thing I’m positive of – there was no bounty on Vernon Davis.

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