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Saints' Bounty Program

saints bounty program gregg williams sean payton

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#1 Crimson Lego

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:31 AM

http://www.theglobea...article2356957/

1st page:

New Orleans Saints players and at least one assistant coach maintained a bounty pool of up to $50,000 the last three seasons to reward game-ending injuries inflicted on opposing players, including Brett Favre and Kurt Warner, the NFL said Friday. “Knockouts” were worth $1,500 and “cart-offs” $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs.

The NFL 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 co-ordinator Gregg Williams, with the knowledge of coach Sean Payton.
Williams apologized for his role, saying: “It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it.”
No punishments have been handed out, but they could include suspension, fines and loss of draft picks. The NFL said the findings were corroborated by multiple, independent sources, during an investigation by the league's security department.

Players contributed cash to the pool, at times large amounts, and in some cases the money pledged was directed against a specific person, the NFL said.
“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for `performance,' but also for injuring opposing players,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.”
All payouts for specific performances in a game, including interceptions or causing fumbles, are against NFL rules. The NFL also warns teams against such practices before each season.
“It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated,” Goodell said. “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.”

Asked about potential criminal charges, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said:
“We believe that any violation of league rules should and will be handled by the commissioner.”
“Cart-offs” are defined by the NFL as a player being carried off the field; “knockouts” as when a player cannot return to the game.
The league absolved Saints owner Tom Benson of any blame, but said the investigation showed Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis knew about the “pay for performance” program.
“Although head coach Sean Payton was not a direct participant in the funding or administration of the program, he was aware of the allegations, did not make any detailed inquiry or otherwise seek to learn the facts, and failed to stop the bounty program. He never instructed his assistant coaches or players that a bounty program was improper and could not continue,” the NFL said.

When informed about it earlier this year, the NFL said Benson directed Loomis to “ensure that any bounty program be discontinued immediately.” However, the NFL's report said evidence showed Loomis didn't carry out Benson's directions and that in 2010 Loomis denied any knowledge of a bounty program.
“There is no evidence that Mr. Loomis took any effective action to stop these practices,” the NFL said.
Williams, hired as defensive co-ordinator by the Rams in January, is known for coaching aggressive defences that try to intimidate opponents. He has said he won't punish players if they're flagged for late hits or unnecessary roughness, as long as the penalty resulted from aggression, not “stupidity.”
“Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role,” Williams said Friday. “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.”

The NFL found no evidence of similar bounty programs within the league, but several Redskins told The Washington Post that Williams had a similar system as defensive co-ordinator for the team.


Discuss.

Edited by Leo Crimson, 06 March 2012 - 11:32 AM.


#2 Oberon Storm

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 04:56 PM

I have seen some headlines for opinion peices that say players should take the fall for this as well as the coaches. I agree with that.

#3 TheAvengerLever

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:27 PM

Do they not know that it's just a fun game?

I thought it was. Why are they taking it so seriously?

#4 Elvenlord

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:53 PM

We're in America, and this is FOOTBALL
Also, since when is football a fun game?

#5 Oberon Storm

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:06 AM

It's not just a fun game. Like any other sport this is the livelihood for a lot of these guys. When you talk about a bounty program to purposely injure other plyers you are talking about threatening that other player's livelihood. If they get careless enough they could very well paralyze each other.

#6 TheAvengerLever

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:54 AM

Well yes, my post was mostly sarcasm. When it comes to the point where you have a bounty program in effect you have really taken things a bit too seriously.

#7 Hana-Nezumi

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 07:29 AM

That's HORRIBLE. Getting paid to injure someone!! Suspension? Fines? That is nowhere near enough! These people should be brought to court! It disgusts me how privileged these people are and just how much they can get away with! Ugh!

#8 Egann

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 10:16 AM

It's not just a fun game. Like any other sport this is the livelihood for a lot of these guys. When you talk about a bounty program to purposely injure other plyers you are talking about threatening that other player's livelihood. If they get careless enough they could very well paralyze each other.


If these guys were on a comparable payscale to most Americans, that might be true, but the starting MINIMUM ANNUAL SALARY for a rookie NFL player was over $300K a year in 2009, although it fluctuates quite a bit. The Saints are a historically winning team, too, and are regular contenders for the NFC South, which is so volatile a conference no team has won it twice in a row. They are routinely taking home bonuses.

Put bluntly, no player here is at risk of loosing their bread-winning money, even after the fines and possibly being suspended. This is pure "hurt them, increase our chances of winning/ make the playoffs easier." If other teams got the idea they could get away with this, football would go from controlled bloodletting to very nasty indeed.

Really, I think that if the NFL doesn't treat this rather harshly--which they WILL; the commissioner has been increasingly forceful about protecting players in recent years--then it could be the end of the NFL. Very few football fans watch football to see people get hurt; it stops the action, we have to feel horrible, and then to top it all off we get a commercial break. Football fans want to see a brilliant screen play or a safety saving a long run or a wide receiver getting his foot down within a half inch of the out of bounds while running full-tilt, and most definitely certainly football fans want to watch games which go down to the final seconds.

Sports are about winning, yes, but televised sports are also about entertainment, and entertainment is about the suspense and the flashy.

Edited by Egann, 07 March 2012 - 10:18 AM.


#9 Oberon Storm

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:50 PM

It's not just a fun game. Like any other sport this is the livelihood for a lot of these guys. When you talk about a bounty program to purposely injure other plyers you are talking about threatening that other player's livelihood. If they get careless enough they could very well paralyze each other.


If these guys were on a comparable payscale to most Americans, that might be true, but the starting MINIMUM ANNUAL SALARY for a rookie NFL player was over $300K a year in 2009, although it fluctuates quite a bit. The Saints are a historically winning team, too, and are regular contenders for the NFC South, which is so volatile a conference no team has won it twice in a row. They are routinely taking home bonuses.

It really doesn't matter how much money you make. If you do what you do for a living it is your livelihood. I get that anyone that gets fined or suspended won't feel anything, but the players that get hurt might not be too lucky if they end up a paraplegic.

#10 J-Roc

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:17 AM

Similar stuff happens in hockey, with money getting posted to the board. However, the objective is merely implied not expressly written. Personally, I don't have a problem with this. And I don't understand these people that are worried about multimillionaires on one hand and not worrying about social equity for the bums in the streets. Forget it, if you are a pro-athlete there SHOULD be inherent risk.

#11 Oberon Storm

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:50 PM

Inherent risk is fine. Players getting together and deciding the next guy to sack the quarterback gets five grand is fine. Coaches starting a pool to give to the guy that takes a specified player out of game or worse is not fine.

#12 Crimson Lego

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:12 PM

Exactly what CFS said. The purpose of being aggressive in football is to gain yards on defense, not to give them a game or season-ending injury; the latter should just a side effect of the defender's aggressiveness, not a goal.

#13 J-Roc

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 05:44 AM

When coach goes to player and says "take him out" he is not explicitly stating that he wants a season ending injury inflicted.

#14 Oberon Storm

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 04:12 PM

That might be an oversimplification of what actually happened.

#15 J-Roc

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 08:11 AM

You are probably right, CFS, but I do grow tired of the Crosby watch and the growing number of people who know nothing of hockey wanting to remove fighting from the game....

It's been a bad year for me, sports wise, I'm a hockey fan solely. Hell, I don't even watch football, so I don't really have a dog in this fight and should probably just shut it.

So I will.

#16 Crimson Lego

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 10:29 AM

In case anyone didn't know, Gregg Williams (guy directly responsible) has been suspended indefinitely, Sean Payton (head coach) for a year, and the GM Mickey Loomis for 6 or 8 games, can't remember which.



Saints also fined 500000 bucks and 2 second-round picks. Goodell's making his rounds.

#17 J-Roc

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 12:27 PM

Yeah but from what I heard specifically Payton can still do broadcast on games and I assume so can everyone else.

So really this big message amounts to jack shit.

#18 Crimson Lego

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 12:34 PM

Yeah, but he's one of the major reasons the Saints have been so good. I too didn't see it as much of a deterrence as it would be to other teams; all New Orleans have to do is resign Drew Brees, appoint Pete Carmichael as the interim head coach, and all good.



It's weird though, cause apparently Payton and Loomis are meeting with Bill Parcells to serve as the interim head coach. Which doesn't make sense, imo; the next highest ranking staff member should get the job, not somebody from outside the organization, albeit the fact that Parcells has been a pretty good coach. Seems kinda unfair to Carmichael to offer Parcells the job.

#19 J-Roc

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 12:36 PM

The only reason my ears tuned into that last little tidbit was because of this thread, I know nothing further and don't care for football at all. CFS, I'm tagging you in on this one!

#20 Oberon Storm

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Posted 28 March 2012 - 05:50 PM

Yeah, passing on current employees in favor of someone from the outside is kind of shitty. Shows a real lack of faith in the abilities of said employees.

In the hockey world, anyone that talks about taking fightinf out of the game do not know what they are talking about.

#21 HylianHero

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:03 AM

And now apparently their general manager was able to listen in on opposing teams meetings....

Wow, the Saints are in for a rough couple years here.

#22 J-Roc

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 09:59 AM

And now apparently their general manager was able to listen in on opposing teams meetings....

Wow, the Saints are in for a rough couple years here.


I was watching the sports news at work and when this came on I laughed. Are you telling me that the one year this team wins a championship 4 or 5 people within the organization, of their own accord, were CHEATING!? That is fucking hilarious!!!

#23 Crimson Lego

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:33 PM


And now apparently their general manager was able to listen in on opposing teams meetings....

Wow, the Saints are in for a rough couple years here.


I was watching the sports news at work and when this came on I laughed. Are you telling me that the one year this team wins a championship 4 or 5 people within the organization, of their own accord, were CHEATING!? That is fucking hilarious!!!


I wouldn't describe the bounties as cheating, more like unlawful motivation and purposefully trying to badly injure the other team by smashing their head into the ground or hitting it as they get up.

But yeah, the Saints are pretty screwed at this point, even more so if Drew Brees doesn't sign the tender.

#24 J-Roc

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:41 PM

If being a part of that resulted in year long bans finanacial sanctions and a huge boat load of poo poo then yeah I think its cheating, Young Leo.

#25 Crimson Lego

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Posted 07 September 2012 - 04:19 PM

So...in a completely unexpected turn of events (sorry for the huge bump), the 4 players who were suspended by Goodell...are no longer so.


http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2012/09/saints-players-have-suspensions-lifted-are-available-for-season-opener/1

Two New Orleans Saints players suspended by the NFL for their role in the team's bounty system had their suspensions unanimously overturned on Friday, less than 48 hours before the team is set to open its 2012 season against the Washington Redskins. The case will now go back to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who could impose new penalties based on different violations.
A three-person collective bargaining panel overturned the season-long suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma and the four-game suspension of defensive end Will Smith. The three-game suspension of Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and eight-game band for free agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove have also been lifted.
The NFL said the players are reinstated and are immediately eligible to play in Week 1, but hinted that the saga may not be complete yet.
"Consistent with the panel's decision, Commissioner Goodell will, as directed, make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed for violating the league's pay-for-performance/bounty rule," the NFL said in a statement. "Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend."
In essence, Goodell will now restart the process of determining punishment. If he finds evidence that the players intended to hurt opposing players, he could suspend them for that violation, not the wide-ranging ones he originally imposed.
The players were suspended in May for alleged roles in a system that put bounties on injuries to opposing players, including quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. Vilma was said to have put up $10,000 of his own money to get both QBs out of playoff games.
He denied the accusations and defended himself after the suspensions.
"I never set out to intentionally hurt any player and never enticed any teammate to intentionally hurt another player," he said in a written statement at the time. "I also never put any money into a bounty pool or helped to create a bounty pool intended to pay out money for injuring other players. I have always conducted myself in a professional and proud manner."
Initial appeals to Goodell were dismissed weeks later.
"I'm not surprised," quarterback Drew Brees said of the lifted suspensions, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "Obviously I felt like they saw the information that we've seen for a long time."
Suspensions for coaches Sean Payton, Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt and general manager Mickey Loomis are still active. The coaches weren't eligible for a collective bargaining panel.


I'm personally not sure about this decision. It seems like they're shifting all of the accountability onto the coaches for putting the system in place, and not on the players who failed to stop it.