After a long investigation into the New Orleans Saints, the NFL has finally dished out their heavy-handed decision regarding the so-called bounty rule rewarding defensive players for making plays -- notably payments for knock-outs and cart-offs, situations in which an opposing player was forced to leave the game. The penalties against the New Orleans Saints are as follows:
- The New Orleans Saints are fined $500,000.
- Forfeiture of second round picks in 2012 and 2013 drafts.
- Head coach Sean Payton suspended for 2012 season without pay, effective April 1.
- General Manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 NFL season.
- Former Saints and current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely with a review at the end of the 2012 season, when Commissioner Roger Goodell will decide to reinstate him or not.
- Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt suspended the first six regular-season games of the 2012 season without pay.
Roger Goodell's statement is, in part, as follows:
"We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game," Commissioner Goodell said. "We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised."
"A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious," Commissioner Goodell continued. "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."