Sean Payton is the first coach to be suspended by the league for any reason, for any length of time. He’ll get a full year suspension, his former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams’ received an indefinite suspension by the league. The Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis will be suspended for the first eight games of the season, the team was fined $500,000, and they will lose two second round draft picks over the course of the following two seasons.
Commissioner Roger Goodell called the way the Saints handled the Bounty Program, “Particularly unusual and egregious” and “totally unacceptable.” The incentive system set up by the New Orleans coaching staff, and okayed by members of their front office encouraged players to injure the opposing team. The NFL’s investigation discovered that the scheme involved 22 to 27 defensive players, and they were offered bonuses for hitting star players. Knockouts were worth $1,500 and cart-offs $1,000, with payments doubling or tripling for the playoffs. Beyond questioning the morality of the Bounty System, the Saints were breaking NFL rules which does not allow any type of “Pay for Good Play Performance Systems.”
That being said, it must be realized that Goodell has taken a very strong line on “Players Safety” since his arrival as league Commissioner. What his advisors are telling him isn’t that they are worried about players’ safety, they are worried about legal action and lawsuits being filed by individual players who may have been hurt during their playing career. The league is worried about protecting its stars, much like the NBA, which I’m okay with for all intents and purposes, but this time Goodell has gone too far. No coach or General Manager have ever been suspended by the NFL, and Sean Payton is basically receiving the “Death Penalty” by serving a full year’s suspension. Goodell’s ruling to me is unfair for the fans of the New Orleans Saints, that’s who I feel sorry for. This suspension is a huge deal, and I haven’t really had a problem with Goodell until this ridiculous ruling. He is controlling the competitive playing field of the league by using this action against the Saints, I would like to see the Saints fight Goodell on this suspension because without a doubt it is completely unfair.