The hammer came down from the NFL today from commissioner Roger Goodell
with penalties for the bounty investigation announced on March 2.
Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season, effective
April 1. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended eight games
and fined $500,000. Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt has been
suspended six games. The Saints were fined $500,000 and docked
second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 drafts.
Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended
indefinitely by the NFL, effective immediately. He will miss at least
the 2012 season and his status will be reviewed at the conclusion of
the 2012 season.
Discipline for individual players remains under review with the NFL
Players Association and will be determined at a later date.
In a league release, commissioner Roger Goodell said, "We are all
accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the
integrity of the game. 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. 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."
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
Saints Coach Payton Stunned
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton told FoxSports.com he's "not
OK" with the one-year suspension he received for inaction in the bounty
scandal involving defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
Peyton must serve a one-year ban beginning April 1 and Williams was
In addition, the succession plan the team had in place for the first
four games of the 2012 season -- Payton's expectation for the
punishment coming down Wednesday -- was imploded when assistant head
coach Joe Vitt was also suspended six games.
"No, I'm not OK," Payton told Jay Glazer of FOX after the league's
The report said Payton could lose as much as $8 million in the year
away from the game.
"Bounty programs have no place in our game," commissioner Roger Goodell
stated in announcing that all 32 NFL teams must ensure no bounty
programs exist effectively immediately. "They are incompatible with our
efforts to promote sportsmanship, fair play, and player safety."
The Payton suspension, without pay, was based on the following turned
up in the NFL investigation, according to a league release:
"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.
"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.
"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."
Minus Payton and Vitt, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, hired to
replace Williams in February, or offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael
would likely serve as head coach in 2012. Spagnuolo was head coach of
the Rams, fired at the end of last season, before joining the Saints