Perhaps the most common question raised in the wake of today’s ruling from the internal appeals panel scuttling the bounty suspensions and sending the process back to Commissioner Roger Goodell (and square one) is whether it will affect the suspensions imposed on non-players, like Saints coach Sean Payton.
The quick answer? No.
Payton, Saints interim coach Joe Vitt, Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis, and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams were not disciplined within the confines of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the players. The player protections come from the fact that they have a union that has negotiated a comprehensive and detailed labor deal. Non-players are protected only by the terms of their employment contracts — which simply don’t include the kind of provisions that helped the players in this specific case.
For non-players, every dispute on every issue goes back to the league office for resolution. So while the CBA has given the players new life (for now), the non-players continue to be suspended, with no hope for any change in their status.