Saints coach Payton banned one year for bounties - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Saints coach Payton banned one year for bounties

(CBS/AP) The NFL handed down sweeping and unprecedented punishment Wednesday for bounties paid out on big hits, suspending New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton without pay for next season and indefinitely banning the team's former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, who now works for the St. Louis Rams.

Payton is the first head coach suspended by the league for any reason. He is accused of trying to cover up a system of extra cash payouts that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called "particularly unusual and egregious" and "totally unacceptable."

"We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game. We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities," said Goodell, whose league faces more than 20 concussion-related lawsuits brought by hundreds of former players. "No one is above the game or the rules that govern it."

According to the league, Payton ignored instructions from the NFL and Saints ownership to make sure bounties weren't being paid. The league also chastised him for choosing to "falsely deny that the program existed," and for attempting to "encourage the false denials by instructing assistants to `make sure our ducks are in a row."'

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman says the NFL's punishment fits not just the crime but the culprit.

"A variety of league sources say the phasering of the Saints franchise by Goodell is as much about Payton and the Saints as it is about Goodell attempting to change the NFL's brutal culture, and they're correct," Freeman writes. "Payton has long been on the league's radar, and not in a good way."

Goodell also banned Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games next season, and assistant coach Joe Vitt for the first six games.

In addition, Goodell fined the Saints $500,000 and took away their second-round draft picks this year and next.

According to the league, Saints defensive captain Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 to any player who knocked then-Vikings QB Favre out of the 2010 NFC championship game.

Earlier this month, former all-pro defensive tackle Warren Sapp told "CBS This Morning" that he was dismayed at the bounty scandal.

"There's no reason to go out there and go after (the quarterback). He's a father, a husband," Sapp said. "There's so many other things that go into this other than a football game." (See interview at left).

All payouts for specific performances in a game, including interceptions or causing fumbles, are against NFL rules. The NFL warns teams against such practices before each season, although in the aftermath of the revelations about the Saints, current and former players from various teams talked about that sort of thing happening frequently — although not on the same scale as the NFL found in New Orleans.

In a memo sent out to the NFL's 32 teams, Goodell ordered owners to make sure their clubs are not offering bounties now. Each club's principal owner and head coach must certify in writing by March 30 that no pay-for-performance system exists.

Punishment for any Saints players involved will be determined later, because the league is still reviewing the case with the NFL Players Association.

"While I will not address player conduct at this time, I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players — including leaders among the defensive players — embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players," Goodell said.

The discipline for the Saints' involvement in the bounty scheme is more far-reaching than what Goodell did in 2007, when the NFL came down on the New England Patriots for illegally videotaping an opponent. Goodell fined the Patriots $250,000, stripped a first-round draft pick, and docked their coach, Bill Belichick, $500,000 for what was known as "Spygate."

As recently as this year, Payton said he was entirely unaware of the bounties — "a claim contradicted by others," the league said. And according to the investigation, Payton received an email before the Saints' first game in 2011 that read, "PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers (sic)." When Payton was shown that email by NFL investigators, he acknowledged it referred to a bounty on Rodgers, whose Packers beat the Saints in Week 1.

The league said that in addition to contributing money to the bounty fund, Williams oversaw record-keeping, determined payout amounts and who got cash, and handed out envelopes with money to players. The NFL said Williams acknowledged he intentionally misled NFL investigators when first questioned in 2010, and didn't try to stop the bounties.

Vitt was aware of the bounties and, according to the league, later admitted he had "fabricated the truth" when interviewed in 2010.

Loomis knew of the bounty allegations at least by February 2010, when he was told by the league to end the practice. But the NFL said he later admitted he didn't do enough to determine if there were bounties or to try to stop them.

After the NFL first made its investigation public on March 2, Williams admitted to — and apologized for — running the program while in charge of the Saints' defense from 2009-11. He was hired by the Rams in January.

Goodell will review Williams' status after the upcoming season and decide whether he can return to the league.

The Saints now must decide who will coach the team while Payton is barred, his suspension is effective April 1, and who will make roster moves while Loomis is out.

After the NFL made clear that punishments were looming, Payton and Loomis took the blame for violations that they acknowledged "happened under our watch" and said Saints owner Tom Benson "had nothing to do" with the bounty pool, which reached as much as $50,000 in 2009, the season the Saints won the Super Bowl.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees reacted quickly to the news on Twitter, writing: "I am speechless. Sean Payton is a great man, coach, and mentor ... I need to hear an explanation for this punishment."

The NFL said the scheme involved 22 to 27 defensive players; targeted opponents included quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. "Knockouts" were worth $1,500 and "cart-offs" $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs.

 

  • SportsMore>>

  • Houston's win streak ends at 12 games with 2-1 loss to Rays

    Houston's win streak ends at 12 games with 2-1 loss to Rays

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 11:51 PM EDT2018-06-20 03:51:14 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 12:26 PM EDT2018-06-20 16:26:52 GMT
    (AP Photo/David J. Phillip). Tampa Bay Rays' C.J. Cron, right, is congratulated by third base coach Matt Quatraro (33) after hitting a home run against the Houston Astros during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 19, 2018, in Houston.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip). Tampa Bay Rays' C.J. Cron, right, is congratulated by third base coach Matt Quatraro (33) after hitting a home run against the Houston Astros during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, June 19, 2018, in Houston.
    C.J. Cron homered early and Wilson Ramos hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning to lift the Tampa Bay Rays to a 2-1 win on Tuesday night to snap a 12-game winning streak by the Houston Astros.
    C.J. Cron homered early and Wilson Ramos hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning to lift the Tampa Bay Rays to a 2-1 win on Tuesday night to snap a 12-game winning streak by the Houston Astros.
  • The Latest: Salah scores, but Russia beats Egypt for 2nd win

    The Latest: Salah scores, but Russia beats Egypt for 2nd win

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 5:00 AM EDT2018-06-19 09:00:32 GMT
    Wednesday, June 20 2018 2:43 AM EDT2018-06-20 06:43:09 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini). Switzerland's Steven Zuber, left, scores his side's first goal during the group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Sunday, June 17, 2018.(AP Photo/Andrew Medichini). Switzerland's Steven Zuber, left, scores his side's first goal during the group E match between Brazil and Switzerland at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Sunday, June 17, 2018.
    Brazil's jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has made his debut as a football pundit.
    Brazil's jailed former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has made his debut as a football pundit.
  • Kids Inc., Turn Center partner to offer sports to kids with disabilities

    Kids Inc., Turn Center partner to offer sports to kids with disabilities

    Tuesday, June 19 2018 5:46 PM EDT2018-06-19 21:46:54 GMT
    Source: Kids Inc.Source: Kids Inc.

    Kids Inc. is teaming up with the Turn Center to include all children in sports programs. 

    Kids Inc. is teaming up with the Turn Center to include all children in sports programs. 

Powered by Frankly