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. erich2112x

    What about rugby players? They don't wear pads or a helmet.

    April 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. WhackyWaco

    Defensive players have been trying to take out key players for years. What's new?

    April 9, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • chiefsfan

      you think O-line / cracking WR's don't get dirty? Stevie Johnson took out Eric Berry's ACL on a dirty hit.

      April 10, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. danesk

    Shocked Monkey,

    You are wrong. Those hits were illegal, after the game ended other refs even said they should have called penalties during the game. By the way... where the hell were the refs.. maybe they were getting paid off too. And yes I am a MN fan. Loved it when Favre came over from the dark side. he he. My wife is a packer fan... just drove her bonkers..

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

      No. If they were illegal, they would have been fined. There were TWO review processes, and NEITHER found the plays brutal, or dispensed with fines. The system worked, as it should, and now they want to review the hits again through bounty colored glasses. Lame.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Ya. You guys played a good game. The playoffs are never nice. The wife is an eagles fan. Every day with this. Sheesh. Don't know how Favre didn't just hang up the cleats. Guess he wanted just one more. It's understandable.

      April 10, 2012 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • TommyBoy

      Hey Monkey man: did you say you were from Mississippi? The state with the lowest IQ in nation? Ok, now I understand why your comments are so misinformed. -TB

      April 10, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Name*stjameson

    I can see flag football coming in the future.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greek American

    You mean the same POS waste of humanity Bertuzzi that the white trash Red Wings have been paying millions to the past few years to play for them?

    So you love the Saints, we get it dick knob! Please put your relative's dick back in your mouth so people who are not inbreeding can make comments. Stupid f*@#ing hick.

    April 9, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • generous

      Yes, I must be a hick. I'm a fan of a southern team, therefore I must be a hick. Very clever. Did you put that together by yourself?

      I have no need to resort to profanity to make a point. You have no point, so you resort to profanity. Brilliant. You pollute the gene pool. Get out and wash up before you give everyone the hiv.

      April 9, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. texan

    suspending Loomis doesn't seem like a lasting message. the leaders in this scandal should get fired.

    April 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greek American

    Who in the hell is calling you a hick? I was talking to monkey boy. I see that the subject is very sensitive to you though. And the gene pool in this country is already polluted by enough people such as yourself, who act like they are part of a professional sports team, because their other life is so pointless and useless and friendless that they live off of sports. You aren't making any critical comments other than saying you lick the Saints' a*ses and stand 'behind' the players and coaches no matter what. So yes, you now have inferred that you could possibly be a hick. Born in the south, and obviously 'reared' in Nawleans.
    I can see that your gene pool is reserved exclusively for relatives and family members.

    April 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • shocked monkey

      Not very bright, are you?

      April 11, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Greek American

    I'm a huge fan of horse kok. Please forgive me for being so rude. I had not been filled with horsey goodness that day, and tend to get a bit bhitchy and develop a superiority complex when I have not had my 23 inches of deep equestrian lovin. I think I'm better than everyone because I live in the north, therefor am obviously overcompensating for a lack of noticeable male genitalia. Please accept my apology, for being a classless, pompous, mounopano. I will avoid internet forums in the future, unless I have felated everything at the local zoo first.

    'Greek American', the shame of Greece.

    April 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. shocked monkey


    April 11, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
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