Mar 21, 2012

Bountygate penalties rock the Saints

The Saints have had lots of bad days in their franchise history, but none more uglier than today. The NFL has issued penalties for Bountygate, and they are severe:

  • The New Orleans Saints are fined $500,000. In addition, because the violation involves a competitive rule, the Saints will forfeit their selections in the second round of the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts.
  • Saints Head Coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective April 1.
  • Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is suspended without pay for the first eight regular-season games of the 2012 season.
  • Former Saints (and current St. Louis Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely from the NFL, effective immediately. Commissioner Goodell will review Coach Williams’ status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether to reinstate him, and, if so, on what terms. Commissioner Goodell said he will give close attention to the extent to which Coach Williams cooperates with the NFL in any further proceedings.
  • Saints assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt is suspended without pay for the first six regular-season games of the 2012 season.
  • The Saints and the individuals disciplined today are expected to participate in efforts led by the league office to develop programs that will instruct players and coaches at all levels of the game on the need for respect for the game and those who participate in it, on principles of fair play, safety and sportsmanship, and to ensure that bounties will not be part of football at any level.
These penalties seem overly harsh, but Roger Goodell has always ruled with a strong hand when it comes to player safety. I feel like these penalties are extreme, but now the Saints have to deal with them.

Losing Coach Payton for the entire year is going to hurt the most. Effective April 1, he won't be around the team. The 2012 Saints will defiantly have a different look and feel than any Saints team we've seen the past few years.

Pete Carmicheal will call the shots on offense and new defensive coordinator (potentially the interim head coach) Steve Spagnuolo will run the defense. Joe Vitt was tabbed to be the interim head coach, but he got a six game suspension himself. It's unclear how Mickey Loomis' suspension will affect the team. Early indications are that he'll be able to run the draft, but no definite answer on that has been given. No matter what, this is a black eye for the franchise.

The issue here is that the Saints were out to hurt their opponents and when asked about the program, multiple people lied multiple times. The league vowed to stop bounty systems from happening again and these harsh penalties should do just that.

But that doesn't make this any easier for Saints fans to swallow.

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