Wow, this is shocking!
The NFL absolutely dropped the proverbial hammer on the Saints for “Bountygate” Wednesday, as CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman reports Sean Payton’s is suspended for the entire 2012 season without pay, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis is suspended for eight games, the Saints are fined $500,000 and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely.
In addition, the Saints will lose a second-round pick in both 2012 and 2013. In addition, Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com reports that Joe Vitt, linebackers coach and assistant head coach, will be suspended as well. Vitt would’ve been a candidate to take over as head coach for Payton, but now it’s likely offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael.
The NFL has since announced the news, and it is an absolute stunner — as severely as everyone expected Goodell and the league to punish, this goes far beyond what anyone could have expected.
“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” Commissioner Goodell said in a statement released by the league. “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.”