March 22, 2012- The NFL came down hard on the New Orleans Saint organization and Sean Payton it head coach for the bounties the team had on its opponents. An analyst called the discipline historic in nature for the NFL. Sean Payton received a suspension for the entire 2012 season without pay. The NFL also suspended Gregg Williams, the former defensive coach for the Saints, indefinitely.
The suspensions and fines stem from the Saints’ bounty program that targeted opposing players. The team paid bonuses to players if they knocked opponents out of games. Mickey Loomis, the General Manager of the Saints, was suspended for eight games to start the season. Joe Vitt, the teams assistant head coach, was suspended for six regular season games. The team must forfeit its 2012 and 2013 second round picks in the drafts and must pay a fine of $500,000.
The Saints organization released a statement that apologized for the bounty program and took full responsibility for it. The organization said they were humbled by all the support their fans have given them through this and they hope the fans will continue to do so.
The statement concluded by saying, “There is no room or place for a program of this sort in the NFL and we pledge this will not happen ever again.”
Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the league said he would review Williams’ status once the season is over and then decide if he will be reinstated or not. Williams is now on the coaching staff for St. Louis.