April 9, 2012

Bounty Suspensions Upheld; Goodell Could Relax Other Penalties For Good Behavior

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today that last Thursday's appeal of the Saints' punishments in the bounty scandal and attempted cover up have not changed the suspensions.

Saints head coach Sean Payton will begin his one year absence from the NFL on April 16.  Assistant head coach and linebackers coach Joe Vitt will begin his six week suspension after preseason.  GM Mickey Loomis will begin his eight week suspension after preseason.

Goodell's statement indicated that the financial penalties and more importantly the forfeiture of the Saints' 2013 2nd round draft pick could be "modified" by the commissioner.

Modification will be considered if, as expected, the Saints organization is to "embrace the opportunity and participate in" "development and implementation of programs to instruct players and coaches at all levels on principles of player safety, fair play, and sportsmanship."

The Saints were penalized two second round picks in the next two drafts when the punishments were announced on March 21.

The harsh, news-making penalties for the Saints arose from the three year "bounty" program led by Gregg Williams, the Saints' former defensive coordinator who is suspended indefinitely from the league.

The league found that the Saints did not stop the bounty program when ordered, and organized a cover up campaign to lie about its ongoing existence in the Saints' locker room.

It is the lying to the league, pointed out specifically by Goodell to have happened even in the past few weeks, that demanded the punishments.

The commissioner has yet to announce player suspensions, which are expected to be severe and numerous.

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