Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 3/21/12
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New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for his involvement in the team's bounty program, the NFL announced Wednesday.

General manager Mickey Loomis, assistant coach Joe Vitt and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have also been disciplined by the league.

Loomis is suspended for the first eight games of the 2012 campaign and Vitt has been banned without pay for the first six contests, as well as fined $100,000.

In addition, the Saints have been fined $500,000 and are being forced to surrender their second-round picks in the 2012 and 2013 drafts. Payton's suspension is effective April 1.

Williams ran the bounty program between 2009 and 2011 that financially rewarded players for injuring the opposition. He has been suspended indefinitely.

The NFL claims Payton and Loomis had knowledge of the bounty system run by Williams but failed to take steps to abolish it.

"It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game," NFL commissioner Roger Goodwell said in a statement released earlier this month. "This type of conduct will not be tolerated. We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety and we are not going to relent. We have more work to do and we will do it."

The penalties are the most severe handed down since Goodell disciplined the New England Patriots for the "Spygate" scandal of 2007.



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