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. nadinesh

    I get really tired with all the comments about all the other teams who are doing the same thing. Probably some of them are; maybe they all don't. I don't care. It's like that stop sign that half the people at the intersection roll through without stopping, without being caught. When the cops do tag someone for it, is it a reasonable defense to say, "but everyone rolls through that stop sign?" Yeah. Try it next time and see.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Well whats all your rage about? Are you angry because:

      A. They had the office pool and feel they risked injury to players because of it?

      B. The fact they weren't supposed to have the office pool in the first place?

      C. The 'cover up' of said office pool?

      D. Because the Saints beat your team by three scores?

      April 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • @Monkey

      Monkey-you seem to be the one with all the rage. Go get some thearapy fast and keep the prescriptions filled.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Just_One

    And the irony is that every linebacker out there is trying to take out the Peyton Mannings, Tom Bradys and Drew Brees' every single game and they are paid to do it. The only difference here is some knucklehead coach felt it was necessary to tell them to do it.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JR

    Comes down to the NFL about to get sued from every angle possible from retired players. Rodger is acting tough on football crime to make it look like the owners really care about safey!!.......fact is, it's too late.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ♚Mmmmm♛

    i wonder how much a bag of nuts went for in dah saints locker room???

    April 9, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      I'm sure if have a bag of nuts you probably purchased them, so you should know. Right?

      April 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • ♚Mmmmmâ™›

      @shocked, why you flea-infested, lice zoo animal...everyone knows its monkeys who eat nuts for free...

      April 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nadinesh

    @Monkey: I'm just amazed how you know that no one wants to maim another player. You just watch the right movies, right? Oh, wait, you're the guy who thinks that the "media" makes it all up, but it's really just the way it was in those football movies you like to watch. But it's a business, fueled, I'm afraid, but the amazing bloodlust of the average US sports fan. And in a business, any kind of behavior is fair as long as the bottom line is enriched. Apparently. I believe that a lot more readily than the misty-eyed sentimentalism you keep posting here. I'm as big a football fan as you are - and I KNOW that it's our fault as much as theirs. If we demand it and tune in to see it, they will do it. There isn't much to stop them except when one coach is stupid to get himself filmed advocating deadly assault. Frankly, I don't give a damn if the guy never works again and the Saints get penalized. I never for one moment thought that the Pats were the only team filming other teams' practices either. But whoever gets caught - even if they didn't think they would be penalized - has to own up, shut up and put up.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Glad you asked nadinesh.

      You see if you played football, and watched football, and read about football, and watch tv about football, and listen to football on the radio, then enjoy open discourse about football, at the end of the day you see football things for what they are, not what it sounds like. You see, the media is taking advantage of the fact most people don't speak football jargon, or understand the mentality of a football player, or coaches.

      Being psyched up to run as fast as you can into a wall takes more than a calm speech about the weather. It requires potent motivation. EVERY team in the league and every coach and player knows this. Each group must find a way to inspire the players for peak performance. Without it, millions of dollars are lost, contracts are not renewed, teams and entire industry's associated and dependent on the team are ruined. New Orleans does not have this problem, as the fans in New Orleans are very likely the most loyal in all sports combined. This is, IMO, why Goodell is hitting the Saints with this so hard. They feel they can absorb the shock.

      You express that you are as big a football fan as I, and that may be. I have yet to see a smoking gun, or anything suggesting someone was instructed to end someones career as you hear in the airwaves and in media outlets. Have you? What about the Packers 'bounty' program? That's ok, because they were told to stop and as far as anyone's knows, it was? That's it? No public outcry and gnashing of teeth over how dangerous the cheeseheads of 07 were? Odd.

      No one seems to be worried about the nastier players in the league either, though they'll tell you to your face they want to break a running back in half, and will try. That's ok though. I mean were after player safety by singling out ONE TEAM and punishing them THOROUGHLY AND COMPLETELY for all teams and injured players ever, not by changing the way the game is played. All this plays nicely into your apparent chosen rhetoric of 'they hurt the game, they should be punished' while ignoring the very real actions of head and arm stomping by Haynesworth and Suh (respectively).

      No misty eyed arguments here, just lots of hypocritical steps that should be straightened out if the intention is what Goodell suggests it is. You know like NOT extending the season to an 18 game schedule.

      Oh, and with the Pats, no one burned evidence for the Saints. Don't try to complain as though the two are remotely the same. Stealing the oppositions plays gives you an unfair advantage. Hitting someone hard is part of the game. Unless you have a list of players the Saints injured to paste up here and maybe proof it was a 'bountied' player. Good luck with that though.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  6. hillbilly

    WHO DAT!! WHO DAT!! OH #$#@! WE DAT!! WE IN DEEP #$#@$#@!!

    April 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nadinesh

    and Monkey: calling people MORONS because they disagree with you only weakens your credibility. You seem to think you're the only real football fan posting here. Your notion of football isn't any more valid than the people who are pretty disgusted with the way old football players have no short-term memory and can't walk anymore.

    April 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      You are correct. My opinion is no greater than any others. When someone is spewing toxic rhetoric like its candy, I get a little irritated. When someone says something like

      "Suspensions aren't enough. Gregg Williams conspired to commit criminal acts and ought to prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for what he did. His bounty program could have permanently maimed or paralyzed any of these young men for life. Thank goodness he was found out before that happened"

      I don't have to wonder if they watch football or not. It's just idiotic. Since you're reading past posts you'll see that was the ONLY insulting post I have made. I don't need your credibility.

      I spend money on the games, I spend money on the jerseys and the NFL package, and so on and so forth. So if I feel a little fanatical about my team, I guess I'll just have to swallow that fact. My NFL experience as 'fan' is being carpped on, and I didn't do anything, but be a loyal paying fan. For someone to come along and say hitting too hard is dangerous, and ruining my good time which I spent a decent amount of money on, is enough grounds to call someone on an internet forum a moron. K?

      April 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ♚Mmmmm♛

    well now we kno' in addition to dah voodoo priestess drawin' bad energy, and dah fact dat dah dome sits over dead people, it was dey low down, cheatin' ways dat kept dem boys from goin' all the way...

    April 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. erich2112x

    They survived the b–ch Katrina, they'll weather this! And don't ask me how the f–k to spell weather.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Saints are gay.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • erich2112x

      Real ones are. Sad fact.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. AmesIA

    It all comes down to intent.

    To play hard, to play physical, to pin your ears back on the pass rush, to hit a guy hard enough to make him think on his next crossing pattern – All those things are a part of the game. If you are putting a helmet onto a guys chin that had concussions, if you go after a new that had an ACL repair, if you come in late with the INTENT to injure then it isn't part of the game. You have crossed the line into something besides football.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ernie McCracken

    Will the Black Panthers be susopended as well?

    April 9, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Are You Kidding?

    You know the Saints were not the only team doing this. Oakland comes to mind as one that has and does it. The fact the the league office just pointed there finger to just one team is in short laughable. They were the message sent to the league and the league doesn't have the guts to go after the others because of the owners.

    April 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Play hard or go home!

    This is a contact sport. What of the days of the old Raiders. How did they earn their reputation? Was it allowed back than to establish the NFL. If a child is trained a certain way to tackle and the rules change on the technique, who is at fault. Everybody talks of mental toughness but during the action the instinct takes over. How he or she is trained takes over. This is all just politics because the viewers are becoming sensitive as a whole. It is unfortunate but someone had to take the bullet.

    April 9, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Basketball is a contact sport. Football is a collision sport

      April 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      i suppose we should just say "well, the raiders did it" and ignore the increasing incidence of brain damage. after all, the fans should not have to deal with reality

      April 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      I don't understand why people keep saying that cheating is part of sports. It is not, it does not have to be tolerated. Football is a contact sport and a rough sport, but it has rules that have to be followed. And the players, coaches and teams that can't be successful following he rules need to be punished and pushed out of the sport so the players, coaches and teams that are talented and can have success following the rules are allowed to play.

      April 10, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. jesuswore womens undies

    i love f00king koreans!
    women r good...but men r best!
    they take my 11 inches of c0ck up their a$$es like champs!
    and they all swallow!

    April 9, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
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