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Saints Bounty Program Busted


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They should ban Payton and Williams from ever coaching in the NFL...


New Orleans Saints players and at least one assistant coach maintained a bounty program the last three seasons for inflicting game-ending injuries on opposing players, including Brett Favre and Kurt Warner — a pool that reached as much as $50,000 and paid specific amounts for ''cart-offs'' and ''knockouts,'' the NFL said Friday.

The report said the pool amounts reached their height in 2009, the year the Saints won the Super Bowl.

The league said between 22 and 27 defensive players were involved in the program and that it was administered by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, with the knowledge of coach Sean Payton.

Williams, who was hired in January as defensive coordinator by new Rams coach Jeff Fisher, released a statement through the Rams admitting guilt.

“I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson (Saints owner), and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints," Williams' statement read. "It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”



They're always sorry when they get caught.


The NFL better do something real damn serious. Imagine if somebody tried to injure you at work...and you have a family counting on you. They'd get arrested.

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When the NFL announced Friday that it had discovered the New Orleans Saints were guilty of maintaining a "bounty program" for three seasons, it said it could fine or suspend those involved. It also said it could dock the Saints draft picks.

Well, here's a suggestion: Do all three.

This isn't the New England Patriots and Spygate. This is far more serious, with a club rewarding its players for injuring others -- something that's in direct conflict with the NFL's drive for player safety.

So make the Saints pay. No, make them suffer as they made opponents suffer.

Gregg Williams, then the defensive coordinator, ran the program. I would suspend him, and I would fine him. Severely. Coach Sean Payton apparently knew about it and did nothing. The same goes for GM Mickey Loomis. I would fine them and suspend them, too.

Then start subtracting draft picks.

A source I trust told me it's "very, very likely" there will be suspensions, and there should be. Commissioner Roger Goodell spent much of the past few years preaching the wisdom and importance of player safety -- with the league implementing measures to make the game a better place for its players. The latest collective bargaining agreement was aimed at player safety, too, with the league and NFL Players Association agreeing on measures that tried to make the game safer for those involved.

Apparently, the Saints didn't get the memo. Worse, they flouted it, and if you witnessed the 2009 NFC Championship Game you know what I'm talking about. It was clear that afternoon that the Saints were going after then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, not just to hit him but to hurt him.

I'm not talking about banging the guy around; I'm talking about crippling him.

They took two penalties for hitting the quarterback and should have drawn a third when Saints defensive lineman Bobby McCray crushed Favre below the knees, injuring his ankle. The score was tied at 21, and Favre threw a crucial interception on the play.

"It's the type of hit that we don't want," then-vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said afterward. "Pretty much a direct shot into the back of [Favre's] legs."

Favre limped off the field, only to return later, but he could not rescue the Vikings from an overtime defeat. Afterward, Minnesota assistants fumed at what they believed were Williams' direct orders to injure Favre, with at least one telling me that he was "going to punch the guy in the face" when he saw him again.

He wasn't alone. I asked then-Vikings coach Brad Childress about it the following August, and he was emphatic in his suspicions of the Saints' intentions.

"Do you think they tried to hurt Favre?" I asked him.

"Yes," he said. "As I look through 13 different clips ... as I looked at it, yes. I talk about hitting the quarterback every week, [saying things like] this guy is a different guy if you hit him, if you make him move his feet. But I just felt if you go back and look at that thing it was whatever, whoever. ... I just know they orchestrated some things that weren't within our rules.

"I don't know if Brett ever looked at it, but we looked at it. I had one of my defensive linemen tell me, 'Coach, that's what they had; they were going after him. Just like you saw the week before with [the Cardinals' Kurt] Warner.'"

Running back Adrian Peterson told me the same thing, and, clearly, the league was listening.

"They definitely tried to hurt [Favre]," Peterson said then. "They definitely went out of their way."

Of course, it didn't matter because the Saints went to the Super Bowl and the Vikings did not. Then the Saints walked off with their first NFL title while the Vikings walked to the next tee.



I agree Clark except I take it one step further...ban Loomis, Payton and Williams.

I know I'd be fired by my company if I did something like this. Probably face charges too.

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I agree Clark except I take it one step further...ban Loomis, Payton and Williams.

I know I'd be fired by my company if I did something like this. Probably face charges too.


In order to do something that drastic, the NFL would need to have direct evidence that they knew about the injury part of the bounties. I'm sure they will come out and say they were only aware of the portion of the program that rewarded players for interceptions and forced fumbles.

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In order to do something that drastic, the NFL would need to have direct evidence that they knew about the injury part of the bounties. I'm sure they will come out and say they were only aware of the portion of the program that rewarded players for interceptions and forced fumbles.


That's what I'm talking about...the part about carting guys off the field. I don't have a big problem with rewarding big plays like interceptions.

Here's what Banks says to your question OTR...


"When informed earlier this year of the new information, Mr. Benson advised league staff that he had directed his general manager, Mickey Loomis, to ensure that any bounty program be discontinued immediately. The evidence shows that Mr. Loomis did not carry out Mr. Benson's direction.

"Similarly, when the initial allegations where 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.''

In other words, Loomis looked the other way, and hoped the story would go away. He decided it was better to protect his team's coaches and players than to do his job and act in the best interests of the franchise and Benson. Maybe that won't wind up being judged to rise to the level of a firable offense in the Saints organziation, but to orchestrate the cover-up of a potentially embarrassing organizational misdeed will get your butt canned plenty in the corporate world.

Payton could be in danger, too, depending on how he reacts to the league's investigation. League sources say if he comes clean about his team's bounty program and admits culpability, the penalties he faces will be calibrated accordingly. But if he doesn't, and the league provides air-tight evidence that he both knew about the program and failed to stop it, he could risk alienating Benson to the degree that firing would be a possiblility.


That's why I wouldn't lay odds just yet that either Loomis or Payton survive this scandal. How they react to it could dictate whether they come out the other side with their jobs intact.

Loomis apparently forgot that he doesn't work for Payton, as powerful a figure as there is the Saints organization. He doesn't work for now-departed Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams -- and doesn't his escape to St. Louis to join Jeff Fisher's new staff now look anything but coincidental? And Loomis certainly doesn't work for the team's players, who should never be the tail wagging the dog, no matter how successful the team might be.

Loomis works for Benson. And he reportedly got caught both lying to the team owner, and to the league's investigators. If there's one thing we know about Goodell's particular mindset and make-up, it's that he doesn't like being lied to. Just ask Michael Vick. We can assume Benson feels similarly, although how he reacts to Loomis' and Payton's denials will soon tell us all we need to know.

It has been a very bad week indeed for Loomis. Locked into a tougher-than-expected contract negotiation with the franchise's all-world quarterback, Drew Brees, Loomis, according to Yahoo! Sports, is reported to have characterized Brees as a "very good'' quarterback, rather than "great.'' With Brees as beloved as any athlete in the city's history -- the revered Archie Manning included -- word of that kind of stance leaking out is a public relations nightmare in the making. Good luck getting the Saints fans on your side against Brees, who could run for mayor and win in a landslide.

And now this, the league's report on an extensive bounty program being run over the span of three seasons, involving tens of thousands of dollars of cash, and between 22 and 27 Saints defenders. Organized and run by Williams, at least tacitly condoned by Payton, and covered up by Loomis. Kind of takes the Saints' image down the path of a lowly sinner, doesn't it?

Again, what we know of Goodell is that he takes the issue of player safety as seriously as anything that crosses his desk and falls under his job's jurisdiction. And the Saints just made a mockery of the league's player safety efforts, with their head coach and their top front office executive letting boys be boys when it comes to the infliction of pain upon an opponent, and the thrill of potential financial gain that came with it.

This one stinks, NFL fans, and the stench goes top to bottom in the Saints organization. New Orleans can't realistically make everyone pay with their jobs. There will be league fines and likely suspensions. But for Loomis and Payton, the accountability should be at a level commensurate with their responsibility. They were in charge of this show, and they know what comes with being the men at the top.

You get the credit and the blame. And this time, there's nothing but blame to go around.



Read more: http://sportsillustr...l#ixzz1o0vMaNsR


Oh...the IRS might be interested in this too.

Edited by vmax
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Thanks the links..they are all great reads. It'll definitely be interesting to see what the league does and where this story goes in the coming weeks. If it was truly that '09 championship game that set off this investigation, then I wonder if the Saints play in that game was the real driver behind how much the refs have protected QB's lately. The refs are the first line of defense against players trying to take other players out of the game with dirty plays.

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The NFL should investigate the Ravens too after Suggs opened his yap. That will clear their good name.

After Jarrett Johnson said he the Ravens never had bounties while he was here I feel sure that they didn't.pp

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