NFL denies Saints appeal of bounty program suspensions
Former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams talks with players during Super Bowl XLIV.
April 9th, 2012
01:17 PM ET

NFL denies Saints appeal of bounty program suspensions

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld his decision to suspend members of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff over the team's bounty program, but left open the possibility for reductions in fines if they "embrace the opportunity" to help develop and implement player safety programs.

The NFL announced last month that they suspended former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely and Saints head coach Sean Payton for one year because of the team's bounty program.

The Saints also will be fined $500,000 and will forfeit their second-round selections in the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts, the league said. In addition, the league is suspending Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season, and Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt for the first six regular-season games, the NFL said in a statement.

“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in the statement when he announced the initial suspensions. “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 NFL reported this year that the Saints paid defensive players a bounty for injuring opponents as well as making interceptions and fumble recoveries during the 2009-2011 seasons. The program involved as many as 27 players and at least one assistant coach, the league concluded following an investigation.

The league said the program was administered by then-defensive coordinator Williams  who now holds the same position with the St. Louis Rams  with the knowledge of other coaches. Players regularly contributed cash to a pool, which may have topped $50,000 at its peak.

The players were paid $1,500 for a "knockout," when an opposing player was not able to return to the game, and $1,000 for a "cart-off," when an opposing player had to be carried off the field. In some cases, particular players on the opposing team were targeted, the NFL said.

After the program was reported on, Payton and Loomis said they took "full responsibility" for the practice, which they said "happened under our watch."

Read more:

Players react with disgust to Gregg Williams ordering Saints to target 49ers' heads, knees

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Filed under: Football • Sports
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. izandro

    i hope these guys get sued so they have to take the bus to work

    April 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Connaise

      More will come..... just for the likes of you.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      You mean like Goodell is already being sued? You hope they get sued for Goodell throwing them under the bus to protect his self? Are you sure you know what's going on?

      April 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rams fan since 74

    Its the same reason I wouldnt walk across the street to watch figure skating. Yot are what you watch.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Connaise

    Saints: We will continue to pay you bonuses. Just keep doing what you are doing. The Bayou Black crowd will come through for you. Just keep up the pain. Remember: Bayou Black their A$$e$!

    April 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. R

    Anyone who thinks that punishing the people involved is wrong really needs to ask themselves how they would feel about it if they were an offensive player... or if their son was a victim of one of these bounties. It doesn't take balls to aim for someone's compromised ACL. It takes the exact opposite of balls. It's like bringing a gun to a fist fight. Major pssy move.

    April 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      So who got hurt form a bounty? Who got hurt during a 'normal' play? The sport is violent, and players get hurt. The point of defense isn't just to stop the other team from scoring or moving the ball, it's also to make them not want to do it again. NO ONE WANTS TO PERMANENTLY INJURE ANOTHER PLAYER. That part is the embellished workings of the media. If you think for half a second a hit to the chest at full speed is NOT supposed to hurt, you are confused about how the game is played.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • R

      They were paid to injure players. Did you miss that part of the story? At not time did I say it's not violent. At no time did I say that people didn't get hurt. Hitting someone hard in the chest is not what I'm talking about. Tracking someone down and aiming at their ACL because you know you can put him out of the game is no longer football. It's admitting that your team can't win strait up. It's a pssy move. I hope your child gets his career ended early because someone paid someone else to make it happen.
      "embellished workings of the media"... hmm... I guess you must have some inside information that I don't have here. Please be more specific. How do players guarantee that no permanent damage is caused when they go out to injure someone again? Please enlighten me oh great one.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Ya, "R", I read the story. It's the same steaming pile of carp they have been printing everywhere.
      1. Go to saintsreport dot com, and check the forums. You will see a plethora of information not printed by CNN, FOX,MSNBC, ect. They are only re-printing the public party line. There is no research, just regurgitation.

      2. If you have torn AC L, you are not fit to play. If you are referring to Adrian Peterson, last year when he came back from an injury, you are cherry picking your events. The list of teams that have used a players potentially wounded "X" to slow them down is so common, and even discussed openly on football strategy programs and channels. If YOU don't know this, I cannot inject you with information you will not seek out yourself.

      The fact you do not know this, and that trying to make a hit hurt, shows your lack of football knowledge. NO ONE SAID THEY WERE TRYING TO END CAREERS, BUT THE MEDIA. If they had intended to end careers, they could have. You've clearly never stopped to wonder why they didn't, but rode the media driven claim they did.

      Educate yourself.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • R

      You are clearly adding your own internal commentary when reading this article and my responses so to educating you would be impossible at this point. That being said, rather than wasting any more of my time I'll let you get back to your unbiased web research.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Right, because this article is the all encompassing and definitive guide to this activity. Only things cited in THIS ARTICLE are fact and all else is an 'internal commentary'. Do you research all things this way? Read one thing and assume you've got it all figured out? I can't imagine how you make your political decisions.

      That's ok. You keep thinking what they feed you. You're not alone.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tebow

    Maybe the appeal should have been heard by a arbriator?

    April 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Boo

    Shocked money – did you see what these thugs did to Favre and Warner? It was above and beyond football...IT WAS ASSAULT.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Yes I did. Bret Favre went on record to say the hits were not illegal, and left the game on his own two feet, after throwing the game losing interception. Kurt Warner did the same thing.

      If the hits had been illegal, fines would have been levied. The league already has a watchdog staff to find and fine for these hits. You know more about what happened to Bret Favre, THAN Bret Favre AND the league? U R Amazing!

      April 9, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nonamerequired

    If you think the Saints are the only ones who did this, then you think Pete rose is the only player who ever bet on baseball. It's cheating, and those who got caught should be banned from the sport. Period.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Boo

    Shocked monkey – you just have missed the part where Favre said he asked Darren Sharper (who used to be a Packer) what the hell he was doing when he came after Favre.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      I'm aware of Sharpers career.

      Sharper didn't lay the double hit people keep clamoring about.

      Where's your anger about Favre throwing an illegal crackback block straight at Texans safety Eugene Wilson’s knees in a preseason game?

      What about James Harrison trying to take Drew Brees' head off in 2010? He wasn't aiming at the body, he went for skull. That's ok though because he didn't get anything extra for it, that you know of.

      It's easy to point fingers and lay blame when someone is shining extra light on something. It's convenient to forget the rest when you already have all the damning evidence you need, despite the facts.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mngirl65

    Finally proof and punishment for being the dirty Saints everybody knew they were. Not only are they still the AINT'S, now with their reputation they're also the TAINTS. Take away the Superbowl trophy from the dirty SOB's.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Really? What proof? The article saying they tried to permanently injure players? That's your proof? Finally? They must have hung 40 points on your club too.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. it's time

    It's time to ban this entire "sport" if it doesn't get its act together. It's not a sport anymore. It's a gladiator arena with one side ( the "defense") given all of the weapons. At least in hockey you have to face the consequences of being targeted if you take out another team's player.

    I can't help but notice most of the players sticking up for the concept of "it's a violent sport" being an excuse for this behavior rarely touch the ball.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Terry

    Gregg Williams should receive a "Lifetime Ban" from coaching and/or club management in the NFL. As for the NFL, I look forward to the billions of dollars that injured players will receive in the class action lawsuits now filed, or to be filed in the future. As for the New Orleans Saints, the fines should have been in the millions, and the franchise required to be sold.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • craig

      Wow Terry, hang in there and attempt to get a life while you are it.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BrownEyeBall

    IIt's payback time on the saints fans.........
    I expect a couple shootings in the near future.
    New Orleans is a dump. Your Gumbo ain't that good.
    MudBug Eating FruitCakes!!!
    WHO DAT WHO DERE??
    Cousin Loving Fanatics..
    WHO DAT???SAY THEY GONNA CHEAT??? DEM SAINTS??
    EVERYONE IS DOIN IT BUT EVERYONE WASN'T CAUGHT.
    BIG LOUSIANA DUMMIES!!!
    WHO DERE???

    April 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      How did you get out of preschool? Your mother is going to be so worried about you.

      You should get back to nap time. The adults are trying to have a conversation.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • craig

      what a brilliantly orchestrated comment. You sure are a smart person to have come up with all that imaginative ramblings.

      April 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Hasai

    So, what's next: Snipers in the stands?

    April 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. craig

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld his decision to suspend"

    This is a stupid process – that the Saints or any player in the league appeals to the idiot (who is ruining the league) that actually handed down the suspension. It's flawed – stupid – nonsensical – and perfectly inline with the idiocy that is Roger Goodell.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JoMama

    This is the right call. You have to give them their right to appeal but you knew Goodell wasn't backing down. If anything, he was too soft. I don't support his softening up the game as much as he has but this is about 10 steps WAY over the line of acceptable behavior and sportsmanship by the Saints.
    Every player with the ball has a target on them, this is accepted in the NFL. Beyond that, when your motivation is about more than stopping the play, when it's about injuring someone intentionally, you've lost sight of the reason you're out there. I like the hard hits and great plays as much as any other jabroni watching the game but sometimes it's pretty obvious that the play has gone too far.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Have you ever WATCHED football? You ARE ware they have MILLIONS of dollars on the line every game, right? What do you think most people would do for one million dollars? Now multiply the millions, and the people. You get some pretty staggering acceptable behavior in the sport.

      I do like that you're trying to apply some moral code to the game, though. It's very cute. They have honor amongst each other. It is a world those of us that do not live it have little reason to have say in it.

      If you think the Saints and their players are the only ones who employ these strategies, you're being naive. You very likely have no opinion or feeling about the Packers of 2007 having the exact same thing. You are either angry that it happened, or angry they didn't stop when it was supposed to. Either way, you conveniently only focus on the Saints and will undoubtedly be unable to promote both agenda's without having to address other teams as well.

      This fiasco is a slippery slope no one wants to tread on with any other argument, than they did it, or they covered it up due to the immense level of league wide involvement. It's easy to peg, tar and feather ONE. It's much harder to actually pursue actual justice and pursue ALL guilty parties.

      April 9, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
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