March 22, 2012
As most sports fans know Wednesday was an incredible day in the NFL. Peyton Manning became the newest Denver Broncos QB, Tebow became a member of the NY Jets. In New Orleans, the Saints coaching staff were learning their fates. Commissioner Roger Goodell always talks about player safety so I knew the penalties would be stiff...and they were.
Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season. General manager Mickey Loomis got an eight game suspension. Assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended for six games and the Saints have to pay a $500,000 fine and will forfeit its second round draft picks in 2012 and 2013.
Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely and Goodell will reevaluate his standing at the end of the 2012 season. There are 20 plus players also involved in "Bountygate" and they could also be punished by the NFL.
Roger Goodell said, "We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safetyand the integrity of the game. 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. 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."
The NFL required all other teams to confirm to the league that they did not have bounty programs in place. Four quarterbacks that were targeted are named in the investigative report. Brett Farve, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Kurt Warner.
Warner said, "I'm shocked like a lot of people, but not fully surprised. One thing we realize about the commish is this has been primarily from day one...he was going to protect our players. I am shocked at Coach Payton being suspended for a year and the various other things, but this is what Commissioner Goodell has done from day one. I love that he is trying to make statements to protect our game for the long-term."
Back on March 6th, Payton and Loomis issued a joint statement taking full responsiblity. "We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch. These are serious violations and we understand the negative impact it has had on our game. Both of us have made it clear within our organization that this will never happen again and make that same promise to the NFL and most importantly to all of our fans."
These guys are insane, they were told numerous times to stop running the program. Saints owner Tom Benson was warned and it has been reported that he instructed his coaching staff that if they were running such a program to stop and well we all know how that went. Everyone is weighing in on this story including Warren Sapp who says that Jeremy Shockey snitched on the Saints. Whether he did or not whoever "snitched" good!
It is unknow who St. Louis will get to replace Williams as the defensive coordinator. The Saints replaced Gregg Williams with Steve Spagnuolo who ironically got fired from the St. Louis Rams after an awful 10 - 38 record over three years. One more thing, can we please stop "gating" everything! Watergate was 40 years ago when a lot of us weren't even born so this reference will go over many heads. Enough already with "gate", the catchphrase should have something to do with the story, like in this case I wouldn't go with "Bountygate" I'd go with pure stupidity.