NFL Punishes Saints For ‘Bountygate’

March 21, 2012 by staff 

NFL Punishes Saints For ‘Bountygate’, The NFL has gone out of its way in recent years to protect its players from injury, but commissioner Roger Goodell took that message to a new level Wednesday. The league dropped the hammer on the New Orleans Saints and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (now with the Rams) for their participation in a bounty program, which handed out cash rewards for injuring opposing players and making big plays.

The investigation showed bounties being placed on four quarterbacks of opposing teams – Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Kurt Warner.

Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season, general manager Mickey Loomis earned an eight-game suspension, and assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended for the first six games of the season. New Orleans also has to pay a $500,000 fine and will forfeit its second-round draft picks in 2012 and ’13.

Williams, meanwhile, has been suspended indefinitely, and Goodell will reevaluate his standing at the end of the 2012 season.

Williams’ suspension begins immediately, while Payton’s kicks in on April 1 and Loomis’ after the final preseason game.

In short, this is a massive punishment across the board — one that could include more names, if the NFL subsequently punishes any of the 20-plus players involved in “Bountygate.”

“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” Goodell said in a statement. “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.

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