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Blog Entry

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

Posted on: March 2, 2012 3:30 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2012 4:10 pm
 
According to the NFL, New Orleans coach Sean Payton didn't try to stop the bounty program, while owner Tom Benson, center, did try but ultimately failed.  (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

In a stunning announcement, the NFL has released the news of an investigation into a team-wide bounty program in New Orleans in which at least one coach and about two dozen players conspired to intentionally hurt opponents and knock them out of the game for money.

Between 22 and 27 players, and at least one assistant coach maintained this “pay for performance” bounty program, violating league rules in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

And the knowledge of the program reaches all the way into the owners box. Saints owner Tom Benson -- who was cited by the league as giving his “immediate and full cooperation to investigators” -- told general manager Mickey Loomis to end the program immediately when he became aware of it in 2011. According to the NFL, “the evidence showed that Mr. Loomis did not carry out Mr. Benson’s directions. Similarly, when the initial allegations were discussed with Mr. Loomis in 2010, he denied any knowledge of a bounty program and pledged that he would ensure that no such program was in place. There is no evidence that Mr. Loomis took any effective action to stop these practices.”

According to the NFL, the funds of the bounty pool -- to which players regularly contributed and which was administered by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the Rams -- might have reached as high as $50,000 during the 2009 playoffs. If a player knocked out an opponent, they received $1,500. If an opponent had to be taken off on a cart, a player was paid $1,000. Those payouts could double or triple during the playoffs.

“Our investigation began in early 2010 when allegations were first made that Saints players had targeted opposing players, including Kurt Warner of the Cardinals and Brett Favre of the Vikings,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Our security department interviewed numerous players and other individuals. At the time, those interviewed denied that any such program existed and the player that made the allegation retracted his earlier assertions. As a result, the allegations could not be proven. We recently received significant and credible new information and the investigation was re-opened during the latter part of the 2011 season.” 

The NFL also found that coach Sean Payton was not a direct participant in the bounty program but that he didn’t make an attempt to learn about it or stop it when NFL investigators began asking about it.

Now, it’s up to Goodell to dole out the possible punishment. He has told the Saints that he will hold more proceedings and meet with the NFLPA and individual player leaders to discuss the appropriate discipline.

The league notes that “the discipline could include fines and suspensions and, in light of the competitive nature of the violation, forfeiture of draft choices. … Any appeal would be heard and decided by the commissioner.”

Said Goodell: “The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players. The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.

“It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and 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.”

Here's Benson's statement on the matter: "I have been made aware of the NFL's findings relative to the 'bounty rule' and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation. While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."

For what it's worth, here is one of the last attempts of Warner's career.



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Comments

Since: Jan 22, 2010
Posted on: March 11, 2012 4:01 pm
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

Im with Gregg Doyel on this, prison terms should be on the top of the list for Williams, Vilma, Loomis and Payton.  Each State they played in where it looks obvious that something sinister with questionable motive, an investigation with determining factors should result in criminal proceedings.  Cival suits where teams suffered injury will be imminent.  I think the absolution of the Saints Org. disolving the Franchise itself should immediatly take place after suspensions, fines and lifetime bans.  Goodells bringing in the "wood" on this one, you can bet on it too!  The things is, football is a high profile game in America and every move he intends on making, a team of lawyers are standing by to say what he can and cannot do.  He should look into other teams allegations also but, for now he has to make sure that what he doe's here is make the right choice when it comes to disciplining these culprits. 
If the NFL wants to keep this "in house" and not extend it out beyond its perameters, thats ignorance and they'll have to move faster than the state & federal lawmakers.  If nothings is done appropriatly due to just cause and a slap on the wrist is awarded, you can pretty much bet on it that you'll see the IRS, the FBI and other State authority's will be receiving telephone calls from teams that took these blatants hits.  Charges can also be filed against players "by players", Coach's etc.  As long as its on film, it can be prooved that a players extended his responsiblity in doing the job he was hired to do.  If nothing is done soon, it'll just get worse to the point a knife or gun will end up out on the field and if not there, then someplace out on the street.  Its about tyime the NFL gets rid of the hood & thug menatality once and for all!



Since: Mar 11, 2012
Posted on: March 11, 2012 8:03 am
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

Really? The worst thing you can think of any team in pro or college being busted for? Like when Partiots coach Bill Bilichick got busted taping opposing teams defensive signals and tapping into the wireless system of opposing quarterback helmet receivers, getting fined $500,000 and the team getting fined $250,000 and NO SUSPENSIONS by Roger Godell? Every team has groups of players that have pools for hard hits, tackles, fumble recoveries, touchdowns, etc. There has been no evidence and I would absolutely be surprised that anyone on any team would actually pay or receive money to "knock someone out of a game" or get paid to have someone carted off. These are all speculations. When the smoke clears there will more than likely be insufficient evidence against Saints actually trying to "hurt" other players. It's called football and of course players on any team have "gentlemen's bets" with each other during games. Watch the games. The hits are legal, especially the Kurt Warner and Brett Favre hits. Let someone touch the NFL's Golden Boy Tom Brady anywhere near the top of his shoulder pads and watch the flags fly like a ticker tape parade. Watch Drew Brees receive helmet to helmet hits in almost every game without any flags. If the Saints had as many rings as the Patriots or Cowboys I guess ol' Roger would look the other way, but oh snap they only have one. And hey losing teams with butt-hurt fans, when someone is flying in to make a "bounty" hit, you could just maybe perhaps block them. Hey Bilichick - loved the "A Football Life" on ESPN - funny thing they skipped right over the whole fact that you're a cheater and you paid half a million dollers for it, but grats on the other stuff you did.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2012 11:45 am
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

I'm beginning to think Gooddell is right.  Make 'em play an 18-game schedule.  Then maybe they'll give their heads a shake and realize that while football will always be an intense and emotional game, it doesn't have to be a crippling one.

Good IS right, no doubt about it.  The players and their union are a complete joke.  They argue an 18 game season would be harmful to their body, shorten their careers and could affect them negatively when they retire.  They argue they could suffer serious damage playing an 18 game schedule.  But that's all GARBAGE......

It's not just the Saints putting bounties on players, supposedly it's most of the league.  Damien Woody said "it happens everywhere, the real question is who's the rat"?  Many other NFL and former NFL players are supposedly say the same things Woody is saying.

Since that's the case, NFL players and their union have lost all of their credibility.  

And since there appears to be 100 percent proof the Saints did this on a large scale and even won a superbowl doing it, I can't wait to see what Goodell's punishment is going to be.  I hope it's steep,, I hope it's brutal.  I hope it sets back the Saints franchise years...

That'll send the message that no, it's not ok.

 



Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 10:22 am
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

The hit on Warner may have been "technically" legal, but...


If you look closely, Warner wasn't trying to dive in and make a tackle, he was in trailing mode and waiting for someone else to take the ballcarrier down, and....


The hit was from behind, from a player that wasn't even in his field of vision.


The INTENT of the Saints' defensive player was obvious and in keeping with the time-disgraced tradition of headhunting.  The play is compelling proof of the bounty allegations.


The players are imbued with a mentality and culture that it's okay to "take no prisoners" and maim the other guy.  The coaches don't try to put a lid on it, they actively encourage it.  This kind of stuff has been going on for decades.


But when these same individuals moan and whine to the owners and coaches about the dangers of the sport, I'm not listening because it's in stark contrast to the decisions they make on the field.

I'm beginning to think Gooddell is right.  Make 'em play an 18-game schedule.  Then maybe they'll give their heads a shake and realize that while football will always be an intense and emotional game, it doesn't have to be a crippling one.



     
      
;     &nbs
p;   




Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2012 1:20 am
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

The Saints may have been in the wrong, and I have little doubt they were not alone, but if they are going to use that clip of Warner as an example, then they have no case. That was a legitimate hit, and even the announcers can be clearly announcing that is was a clean hit.

It doesn't matter if they aren't alone.  It doesn't matter if others supposedly do it because until somebody else gets caught that doesn't matter at all.   And it doesn't matter if the hit on Warner was legal or not either, what I'm reading everywhere is there was a bounty put on Warner.  That's all that matters....

Saying "everybody tries to hurt people" and implying it's not that bad is like me suddenly dealing drugs and when I get caught just tell the cops to lay off because I've heard of drug dealers that have been doing this for 20 years and haven't been in trouble.

The Saints using the everybody does it excuse would be just as effective as the drug dealing example I gave... it wouldn't work.

Regardless of how many others supposedly do it, what the Saints just got busted for is worse then anything I can think of any team in pro or college being busted for in the history of the sport.  The league has what appears to be clear cut proof they were putting bounties on other players heads, trying to end careers AND THE COACHES KNEW IT WAS GOING ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There isn't anything worse then that man.....



Since: Dec 2, 2006
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:32 am
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

The Saints may have been in the wrong, and I have little doubt they were not alone, but if they are going to use that clip of Warner as an example, then they have no case. That was a legitimate hit, and even the announcers can be clearly announcing that is was a clean hit.



Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:07 am
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

 The NFL should find out how much money was paid out and make sure it is taxed and use against the salary cap.



Since: Mar 3, 2012
Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:07 am
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

Without showing any judgment whatsoever towards one team or another, I noticed several moments over the past couple seasons where the Saints 'D took a number of cheap shots at players.  The main one from the 2011 season that stands up was this one against Steve Smith (Carolina) after he was clearly in the end zone:  http://www.youtube
.com/watch?v=68-K8mqldCw

In my opinion, the only reason a defender would do that was for money.  And Smith did absolutely the right thing by enjoying the moment, and then making sure the defender knew that if someone was trying to derail his career, he was going out with a fight. 



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:26 pm
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

if they did this for three years...they should lose their next three 1st round draft picks




Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:03 pm
 

NFL: N.O. had bounty program to injure opponents

SomeTimeFan smith didn't blindside warner he picked off the pass it was bobby mcrea who through the block on warner and if you listened to the broadcaster he says this was a clean hit and gave warner credit for trying to make the tackle.By the way i was at that game and this play happened late in the first half, warner came out and played the entire second half of the game and warner and mcrea shook hands after the game was over.



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