As many expected, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld his decision to suspend members of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff and upper management over the team's bounty program.
Yet, Goodell left open the possibility that those punished could potentially receive reduced fines if they "embrace the opportunity" to help develop and implement player safety programs, according to CNN.
As I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the NFL decided to suspend the New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, for 1 year without pay, and their ex-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely for their roles in the team;s bounty program.
The team was also fined $500,000 and lost their rights to their second round draft selections both this year and in next year's drafts.
Among the suspended also included the Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis (8 games) and assistant head coach Joe Vitt (6 games).
“A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious,” said Goodell said in a statement accompanying the initial suspensions last month. “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.”
Particularly at issue, was that the Saints paid defensive players for injuring opposing offensive stars as part of the team's bounty program. After a league investigation the NFL concluded that the program involved as many as 27 players and was led by Gregg Williams.
The prizes for inflicting injuries included:
- $1,500 for a "knockout," when an opposing player was not able to return to the game, and
- $1,000 for a "cart-off," when an opposing player had to be carried off the field.
Payton and Loomis have since taken "full responsibility" for the program, which they admitted "happened under our watch."
As I previously reported, Goodell was essentially forced to institute these sever punishments as a part of his broader policy to ensure player safety.
Goodell is not in the business of risking player safety as evidence by the severity punishments inflicted.
Though Saints players disagree with the punishments imposed, one thing has been made clear ever since Goodell has taken the reins as NFL Commissioner and that is what he says goes.
What do you think?
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