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View Full Version : NFL Bans Four Players for New Orleans Saints' Bounty Roles


steelax04
05-02-2012, 12:40 PM
http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7881761/nfl-bans-four-players-new-orleans-saints-bounty-roles

The NFL suspended four players Wednesday for their roles in the New Orleans Saints' bounty system, including linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season.

In addition to Vilma, defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers) was suspended eight games, defensive Will Smith four games and linebacker Scott Fujita (now with the Cleveland Browns) three games.

All of the suspensions are without pay.

All four player suspensions will be appealed, according to NFL source who told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, "get ready for a massive multiple legal battle over this on several fronts."

The appeals will be heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"No bounty program can exist without active player participation," Goodell said in the league's statement announcing the penalties. "The evidence clearly showed that the players being held accountable today willingly and enthusiastically embraced the bounty program. Players put the vast majority of the money into this program and they share responsibility for playing by the rules and protecting each other within those rules."

The suspended players, except for Vilma, are allowed to take part in their teams' offseason and preseason activities. Vilma's suspension begins immediately and will end after the Super Bowl.

The NFL cited specific evidence against the four players in its ruling:

The league said Fujita pledged "a significant amount of money" to the Saints' bounty program.

Hargrove submitted a signed declaration to the NFL not only that the Saints' bounty program existed, but that he was an active participant in it. In addition, the NFL said that Hargrove told at least one player on another team that former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was a target of the Saints' bounty pool in the 2009 NFC Championship Game and that Hargrove obstructed the league's investigation in 2010 when he wasn't truthful with investigators.

Smith, according to the NFL, helped former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams create and fund the bounty pool when he was a captain of the defense.

Vilma, also is alleged to have helped Williams create and fund the program. Also, the NFL said Vilma pledged $10,000 in cash to any Saints player who knocked former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner out of the 2009 divisional playoff game involving the teams and then repeated the pledge for Favre for the NFC title game.

Warner was among several former and current NFL players to react on social media to the NFL's ruling.

"Just saw player suspensions from "bounty gate", WOW! #fb," Warner posted on Twitter.

Saints backup quarterback Chase Daniel tweeted that Vilma found out about his suspension by watching ESPN's "SportsCenter" and not from the league itself.

Daniel's tweet: "I was standing right next 2 @jonvilma51 when he found out abt his suspension ON @SportsCenter. Really? He has to find out about it that way?"

Meanwhile, Saints running back Mark Ingram tweeted that the suspensions will only prove to motivate New Orleans.

"Don't worry they just makin us hungrier and puttin a bigger chip on or shoulder!! #WHODATNATION will rise above it!! #believedat," he wrote.

The Saints seemingly had been bracing for the loss of Vilma, bolstering their linebacker corps through free agency. Linebackers Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne were among the team's signings this offseason.

A league investigation found that from 2009-11 New Orleans coaches and players put together a bounty system that paid out improper cash bonuses for hits aimed at knocking opposing players out of games. The NFL says as many as 27 Saints participated.

Goodell already has suspended Saints coach Sean Payton for the 2012 season and fined the team $500,000. Williams is suspended indefinitely, New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis begins an eight-game ban after the preseason, and interim coach Joe Vitt begins his six-game suspension at the same time.

The Saints also forfeited two second-round picks, one in last week's draft and another in 2013.

Payton's suspension began April 16 and runs through the Super Bowl, which, incidentally, is in New Orleans. During that time, Payton may not even have casual, non-football conversations with anyone on any NFL team without at least notifying the league office.

jjpro11
05-02-2012, 01:05 PM
okay.. i am just going to go straight to the point that has been pissing me off. how did Belichick avoid a year suspension, or longer, for openly cheating? Sean Payton got a year for what his players did under the order of the assistant coach. now, i don't doubt Payton was aware of what was going on, but still.. he wasn't ordering the kill shots, like Belichick was ordering the cheating to happen. it was something that happened under his watch. Gregg Williams was doing that before he went to New Orleans. Belichick was the one who actually came up with the videotaping idea and ordered it to happen, for years.

some will argue that the Saints got hit harder because they lied and the Patriots confessed to everything (yeah right).. all i see is a clear double-standard and Robert Kraft having too much influence on this league.

Vis
05-02-2012, 01:16 PM
okay.. i am just going to go straight to the point that has been pissing me off. how did Belichick avoid a year suspension, or longer, for openly cheating? Sean Payton got a year for what his players did under the order of the assistant coach. now, i don't doubt Payton was aware of what was going on, but still.. he wasn't ordering the kill shots, like Belichick was ordering the cheating to happen. it was something that happened under his watch. Gregg Williams was doing that before he went to New Orleans. Belichick was the one who actually came up with the videotaping idea and ordered it to happen, for years.

some will argue that the Saints got hit harder because they lied and the Patriots confessed to everything (yeah right).. all i see is a clear double-standard and Robert Kraft having too much influence on this league.

Don't you tell your kids that lying is worse? It's not just the lying, the Saints were told to stop and they didn't, they kept going and lied about it. Also, filming practices can change game results - bounties for injuries can change life results.

Curtain_of_Steel
05-02-2012, 01:44 PM
Interesting how Fujita kept trying to nose around the proceedings with Brees etc. Now it comes out, Fujita put the hit out and funded it, lol

Whats even funnier is, the NFLPA is going to try to fight it.

TRH
05-02-2012, 03:18 PM
the NFL obviously had legitimate and much evidence, as they would only dish out thse severe penalties with proof.
That said...the penalties were harsh...although i don't have a problem with it. Cash payments for injuring players is unacceptable. Period.

The only thing i have somewhat of a problem with is that the Patriots got more of a "slap on the wrist" where the Saints were severely dealt with. It appears that the close relationship between Goodell and Pats owner Bob Kraft came into play. And thats also unacceptable.

Vis
05-02-2012, 03:48 PM
the NFL obviously had legitimate and much evidence, as they would only dish out thse severe penalties with proof.
That said...the penalties were harsh...although i don't have a problem with it. Cash payments for injuring players is unacceptable. Period.

The only thing i have somewhat of a problem with is that the Patriots got more of a "slap on the wrist" where the Saints were severely dealt with. It appears that the close relationship between Goodell and Pats owner Bob Kraft came into play. And thats also unacceptable.

I don't buy that. The Saints were told to stop, lied and continued for years. NE stopped. If the Saints had just stopped they may not have received any punishment. If NE had lied and continued, there would have been bannings.

MasterOfPuppets
05-02-2012, 04:42 PM
okay.. i am just going to go straight to the point that has been pissing me off. how did Belichick avoid a year suspension, or longer, for openly cheating? Sean Payton got a year for what his players did under the order of the assistant coach. now, i don't doubt Payton was aware of what was going on, but still.. he wasn't ordering the kill shots, like Belichick was ordering the cheating to happen. it was something that happened under his watch. Gregg Williams was doing that before he went to New Orleans. Belichick was the one who actually came up with the videotaping idea and ordered it to happen, for years.

some will argue that the Saints got hit harder because they lied and the Patriots confessed to everything (yeah right).. all i see is a clear double-standard and Robert Kraft having too much influence on this league.
he also didn't see to it that his players and coaches didn't put an end to the nonsense. as the HEAD coach it was his responsibility to see that league rules are enforced... payton never once said he ordered it to stop.

jjpro11
05-02-2012, 07:21 PM
he also didn't see to it that his players and coaches didn't put an end to the nonsense. as the HEAD coach it was his responsibility to see that league rules are enforced... payton never once said he ordered it to stop.

i realize this.. that is why he got a year without pay, and the guy who was in charge of it all got an indefinite ban, also without pay. Belichick, the head honcho of the videotaping, got a $500k fine, no suspension, and earned millions during the season.

Vis
05-02-2012, 07:23 PM
i realize this.. that is why he got a year without pay, and the guy who was in charge of it all got an indefinite ban, also without pay. Belichick, the head honcho of the videotaping, got a $500k fine, no suspension, and earned millions during the season.

Again, video taping didn't endanger another person's health.

jjpro11
05-02-2012, 08:07 PM
Again, video taping didn't endanger another person's health.

i am not saying the Saints' suspensions are wrong, i am just trying to say Belichick got off way too easy. this was the first team-wide scandal that resulted in disciplinary action since the Pats videotaping fiasco. it's really the only two incidents out there to compare.

Vis
05-02-2012, 08:15 PM
i am not saying the Saints' suspensions are wrong, i am just trying to say Belichick got off way too easy. this was the first team-wide scandal that resulted in disciplinary action since the Pats videotaping fiasco. it's really the only two incidents out there to compare.

If the punishment for both are enough to stop either for happening again, they were, indeed, enough.

Atlanta Dan
05-02-2012, 08:47 PM
Again, video taping didn't endanger another person's health.

Or needed to be addressed in the context of class action lawsuits that contend the league office condones practices that lead to long term health problems by players

As evidenced by the Junior Seau tragedy already being cited as further evidence of the consequences of head trauma causing permanent damage to players (without any evidence yet Junior Seau had a history of concussions) the NFL is fighting a growing perception problem and is fighting back as best it can