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. NFL rules

    The NFL doesn't rule HS kids yet. HS ballplayers will still have their cash pools going to the kid who took the opposing teams QB out. (duh) And when they do go into the NFL, there will be no problem with carrying on this lasting tradition. (until caught. then everyone acts surprised...even the major media!)

    April 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Players, yeah, I can see that...
      Coaches? Not so much.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • eddie57

      Well, at least this will make others think twice about doing it again. There is no room for this in sports, period. Losing your coach for a year and GM for half the year, plus draft pick, will take the Saints to where they used to be. The Ain'ts. Bring out the Paper Sacks>

      April 9, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raoul

      Then there is something WRONG with the coaching staff and they are the ones that are supposed to be doing the teaching.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      Perhaps if they had a "brain pool" this might serve you well,since you seem to be deficient in intelligence.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Superman

    Weres there union when the need them? Or are they not union?haaaaaaaaaa! Now maybe the team will watch out ,, other teams might target the saint palyers for free ,,,,,free for all time

    April 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • KenC

      Learn how to SPELL!

      April 9, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      Is that Union or "Unions"???

      April 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Superman

    @@@ nfl rules,,,,,,, sounds like your right, once a child always a child when will these pros grow up? Cant play fair ha? Now there is light on the subject its bs that this happened anyways and they got caught haha

    April 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Duh

    I'm all for criminal penalties and jail time on egregious injurious hits.
    If those overgrown kids can't grow up on their own, put em in jail.
    Bunch O Punks.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      Player? yep...Coaches ORDERING them?
      Hang 'em! Cut their nads off! Spit on 'em! Beat them with cleats! Use their balls as THE ball!
      Get the torches and pitchforks out!

      April 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. social network

    This is probably going on in some form or another throughout the NFL.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • mendrys

      You are probably correct. The difference here is the involvement of the coaching staff and the fact that this was brought to lif e 3 years ago and the Saints denied it yet kept the program in place.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. interested

    did the players declare their bounties to the IRS, if not i think the IRS should go after them

    April 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      lol..good point....that'll mess them up for life....

      April 9, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • eddie57

      that's funny. Do you report every bet you've ever won to the IRS. Or when you've won at poker? How bout a lunch you won on a bet? I think not.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |

    Screw the Saints... goodbye

    April 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. KrisM

    "NFL rules" (sad Saints fan), stop smoking whatever it is. Just because you are an ass doesn't make everyone else, too. While many players do target major injuries for counterparts, my high school team (SA Roosevelt) never supported that. FYI: We won the state championship, DIV 2.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy ©

      There are some who will think the worst of anyone and everyone.
      Happily, these people are identified by the loud humming coming from their fillings.

      My local HS team isn't like that that, either...and our team is one of the winningest in our region, without major injuries to the teams they oppose.
      In other words, they just play football...

      April 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tina1649

    Gregg Williams is a Neanderthal. Maybe he can find a job handling security at a shopping mall.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jim meyer

    not only should they be banned for life from professional football and fined a large sum but should be brought up on

    criminal charges and should serve time in prison

    April 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. wcb2009

    A $500,000 fine for people that earn millions seems kind of silly. If they truly want to discourage this, they should add another zero or two to that amount..

    April 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • bnakka

      Yeah just like $1500 prize for a bounty hit..... They should have added 2 zeroes then we wouldn't.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bnakka

    Yeah Saints had bounties yet there wasn't a single player injured from the Saints hits. Brett Favre was an old man trying to play 5 years after he should have retired. Please stop crying about his hits.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • eddie57

      Doesn't it make it right. that's like saying, I have a girlfriend, but my wife hasn't never caught me with her.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • mendrys

      Do you really think that there have been no onfield injuries to any of the Saint's opposing players? I think that you will find that there were players injured (happens all of the time regardless of a bounty system or not) and that bounties were paid to the players who caused the injury.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      Hey smart guy,the intent was there and that is all that matters,not whether any injuries occured or not.This was coached,the players attempted to maim and injure opposing players so now,guess what,you got caught and now you will pay.Rules are made for a reason,whether you like them or not.If you don't you won't play in the NFL.End of story.if this was so good for the league,why were they suspended?..Wake up,then grow up.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. justuandi

    LOL say good bye to their high payrolls and advertising. I don't think any of the Saints will make close to what they are making now once their contract is up. They may get traded but not at the same paygrade.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      They're highest paid players are on the offense. The offense isn't involved in this "scandal" at all. Do you even know what you're talking about?

      April 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. justuandi

    I mean if you were trying to hurt me in a game and got traded to my team. I do not think the "Saint" will be well received by the rest of the team.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Saints are NFC

    NFC: no freakin class. Just like their whole city. Payton should be fired and banned for life, same with the bounty players, and they forfeit their 1 Superbowl. Maybe criminal charges too.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
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