NFL annouces punishment for Saints
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012 00:03
With news breaking recently about the New Orleans Saints football team placing bounties on opponents, the National Football League had to make a decision on the proper punishment they would hand out.
Wednesday morning, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement announcing the punishment that shook the entire Saints organization. Head coach Sean Payton will be suspended one year without pay beginning April 1. General manager Mickey Loomis will be suspended eight games and fined $500,000. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who is now with the Saint Louis Rams, has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt will be suspended six games without pay, and the Saints organization was fined $500,000.
Additionally, the organization will forfeit a second round draft pick in 2012 and 2013.
Many fans said the punishment is excessive. Southern Miss senior Napoleon Benoit, resident of New Orleans and lifelong Saints fan, feels the punishment is entirely too extreme.
“To say the punishment is too harsh is not enough,” Benoit said. “Goodell gave the Saints the death penalty. If they can suspend our coach for that long, I fear for the careers of our defense that were a part of it.”
Saints quarterback Drew Brees also responded to the ruling via Twitter.
“I am speechless,” Brees said. “Sean Payton is a great man, coach, and mentor. The best there is. I need to hear an explanation for this.”
Roger Goodell made a statement regarding his ruling Wednesday afternoon.
“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” Goodell said. “We will not tolerate this conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it.”
Not helping the situation was the fact that officials from the Saints denied allegations that the bounty program existed when league officials were investigating. This occurred over a three-year period. Also, Loomis admitted to league sources that he did not fulfill his promised duty to end the bounty program, which he stated he would do in 2010.
It is unclear whether the Saints will protest the rulings, but it is not likely considering the protest would go through the commissioner’s office.