Bountygate: NFL Hands Down Punishment for Saints Organization and Coaching Staff
When Bountygate first broke, I said the Saints were going to get punished in way that makes the repercussions over Spygate look like a slap on the wrist. I was wrong. They make the punishment for Spygate look like winning the lottery, and they haven’t even gotten to the players yet. Details about the penalties handed down below.
According to ESPN’s NFC South blog, this is the list of the penalties that were handed to down as a result of Bountygate:
- The 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 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 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 Williams cooperates with the NFL in any further proceedings.
- Saints assistant 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.
- The league also said the involvement of players in the bounty program remain under investigation and Goodell will address possible discipline at a later date.
I can’t help but have mixed feelings over this. Everyone on that list deserves to be punished, but it sucks to be a Saint right now. It sucks even harder if you are a guy on the team who had no knowledge of any of this. Moreover, if this is as widespread as some say it is, there are a whole lot of teams, owners and coaches sweating bullets right now. Analysts are probably right when they say that the stonewalling by New Orleans staff and players added to the severity of the punishment. However, these penalties set a precedent for any future bounty related violations. Even if some of the punishment was due to the obstructionism on the part of the Saints, I expect the next team to get busted for this (and there will definitely be at least one) will face similar punishment, even if cooperative.
What do you think? Did the penalties go too far? Did they not go far enough?