Fall Saints day: Four New Orleans’ players banned in bounty probe
NY, NY, United States (AHN Sports) – New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been suspended for the entire 2012 season and Anthony Hargrove (now with the Packers) was suspended eight games, Will Smith four games and Scott Fujita (now with the Browns) three games for their roles in the team’s bounty system.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said players had to be punished for their role in a system they reportedly helped set up and benefitted from.
“No bounty program can exist without active player participation,” Goodell said in the league’s statement announcing the penalties. “The evidence clearly showed that the players being held accountable today willingly and enthusiastically embraced the bounty program. Players put the vast majority of the money into this program and they share responsibility for playing by the rules and protecting each other within those rules.”
Saints coach Sean Payton was already banned for the 2012 season and the team fined $500,000. Saints former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is suspended indefinitely, while GM Mickey Loomis faces an eight-game ban after the preseason, and interim coach Joe Vitt will also serve a six-game suspension.