Story Summary

Saints “bounty-gate” allegations and punishments

The New Orleans Saints bounty scandal was an incident in which several defensive players and coaches from the Saints were alleged to have operated a slush fund that paid out bonuses for in-game performance in violation of NFL rules.

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This story has 9 updates

nfl-players-association-400×225The NFL Players Association released the following statement:

We believe that when a fair due process takes place, a fair outcome is the result.

We are pleased that Paul Tagliabue, as the appointed hearings officer, agreed with the NFL Players Association that previously issued discipline was inappropriate in the matter of the alleged New Orleans Saints bounty program.

Vacating all discipline affirms the players’ unwavering position that all allegations the League made about their alleged “intent-to-injure” were utterly and completely false.

We are happy for our members.

The NFL announced Tuesday that former commissioner Paul Tagliabue has ruled to “vacate” the suspensions of the New Orleans Saints players in the bounty scandal.

“The players have been allowed to play while appeals are pending, though Scott Fujita is on injured reserve and Hargrove is not with a team,” the NFL posted on the organization’s website. “Shortly before the regular season, the initial suspensions were vacated by an appeal panel created by the league’s collective bargaining agreement. Goodell then reissued them with some modifications. Meanwhile, the players have challenged the NFL’s handling of the entire process in federal court.”

Read the full decision here: Tagliabue-decision-bounty-appeal

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Suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is calling his suspension appeal unfair.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell began appeals hearing in the Saints bounty case for the four suspended players.

The NFLPA said “The documentation, which includes ledgers of payouts, power-point slides can hardly be characterized as hard evidence.”

The NFL laid-out much of its case against all four suspended players claiming handwritten notes and computerized records prove the saints ran a bounty program.

Vilma says he doesn’t know how he can get a fair hearing when commissioner Goodell is “judge, jury and executioner.”

The NFL’s bounty evidence includes some 200 pages of documents with emails, power-point presentations and handwritten notes.

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Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma leaves a “bounty-gate” court hearing

The NFL Players Association on Monday released 16 documents which had been provided by the NFL on Friday that the league claims substantiates the accusations of a bounty program followed by the New Orleans Saints.

According to a release on the Players Association website, “On Friday, the NFL provided 16 exhibits to the NFLPA that would be used against the players in today’s [Monday's] hearing. While the exhibits can hardly be characterized as hard evidence, the NFLPA worked with various sources to help define what the items in the exhibits meant.”

The Players Association released two PDF documents which include the NFL’s 16 exhibits. In addition, the Players Association released a third document calling it their annotated version of the exhibits. All three documents are available to view & download by clicking the links at the left.

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Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma speaks about his “Bounty-gate” suspension

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma officially appealed his “bounty-gate” punishment, the NFL announced Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Saints defensive end Will Smith, along with former Saints Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita all “filed notice that they reserve the right to appeal their suspensions after a grievance filed by the NFLPA [NFL Players Association] on their behalf is heard,” according to the NFL.

NFL.com is reporting that Vilma’s appeal will go directly to league commissioner Roger Goodell.

Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season. Smith for four games, Hargrove for eight and Fujita must sit out three games.

In addition, theNFL Players’ Associationhas filed a grievance on behalf of the four suspended players, saying the collective bargaining agreement was violated by the league in their handling of the suspensions.

News with a Twist
05/03/12

Vilma & Smith save their brains from the “No Future League”

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The No Future League or NFL is at it agin, this time throwing the folly of a new collective bargaining agreement back into the faces of Saints players who just 3 months ago were so eager to live under it.

WhoDats are livid over the NFL’s suspension of Will Smith & Jonathan Vilma for “conduct detrimental to the integrity… of the league.” Since the League Commissioner (who wears Prada) presented no evidence for the action it leaves me wondering if the players are being cited for attempting to deal out concussions or lying about whether concussions cause permanent dain bramage [pun intended].

While Commissioner Prada is pontificating about the vaporware that is the league’s commitment to “player safety” maybe he should dole out some fines to Chris Berman, Tom Jackson and Jim Rome. After all, the network based sportscasters are the ones who so delight in voiceovers done to “the hit of the day” highlight reels every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, well every day of the week including the sabbath.

Question: Can the No Future League hold its audience of war loving Americans if it doesn’t feature what sure looks like life threatening collisions between men who are bigger and run faster than any humans since Roman prisoners ran from uncaged leopards? What’s the old saying-if it is too good to be true it probably is.

There are now over 1500 former NFL players who are suing the league for permanent brain damage caused by years of semi-concussive blows to the head on “any given Sunday” including ex Saints QB John Fourcade and Green Bay Packer great Dorsey Levens. This is what Commissioner Prada is really trying to protect: the integrity of the arrogant, culturally corrupt NFL’s bank account.

That’s why I predict there is no helmeted, “hit of the day” future for the No Future League.

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Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma released the following statement Wednesday after the NFL announced his season-long suspension for his alleged participation in the Saints bounty program.

“I am shocked and extremely disappointed by the NFL’s decision to suspend me for the 2012 season. Commissioner Roger Goodell has refused to share any of the supposed evidence he claims supports this unprecedented punishment. The reason is clear: I never paid, or intended to pay, $10,000, or any amount of money, to any player for knocking Kurt Warner, Brett Favre or any other player, out of the 2009 divisional playoff game, 2010 NFC championship game, or any other game. I never set out to intentionally hurt any player and never enticed any teammate to intentionally hurt another player. 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. I intend to fight this injustice, to defend my reputation, to stand up for my team and my profession, and to send a clear signal to the commissioner that the process has failed, to the detriment of me, my teammates, the New Orleans Saints and the game.”

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Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma speaks about his “Bounty-gate” suspension

UPDATE: NFL Players’ Association releases statement on bounty punishments:

“After seeing the NFL’s decision letters, the NFLPA has still not received any detailed or specific evidence from the league of these specific players’ involvement in an alleged pay-to-injure program. We have made it clear that punishment without evidence is not fair. We have spoken with our players and their representatives and we will vigorously protect and pursue all options on their behalf.”

– DeMaurice Smith, NFL Players Association Executive Director


Four current and former Saints players have been suspended by the NFL as punishment for the Saints pay-for-performance “bounty” scandal.

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma will not be able to play for the entire 2012 season. Defensive end Will Smith is suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season. Linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, is suspended without pay for the first three games of the regular season. Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, is suspended without pay for the first eight games of the regular season.

Sports Illustrated reported in March 2012 that Vilma “allegedly offered $10,000 to any player who could knock out then-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre from the 2009 NFC Championship Game,” according to the NFL. The league goes on to say that “During that game Favre endured a number of gruesome hits, and he suffered a nasty ankle injury late in the game.”

The NFL goes on to suggest that the Saints organization knew the extent of Vilma’s involvement, which is why the team has spent their offseason building up their linebackers and signing Curtis Lofton and Chris Chamberlain.

The Saints’ former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the St. Louis Rams, has been suspended indefinitely by the NFL over the program, while head coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for the 2012 season and assistant coach Joe Vitt will sit out for six games during the regular season.

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There were lots of camera clicks, an owner pop-in and a larger than usual media presence at New Orleans Saints headquarters Thursday.

But on the day of the 2012 NFL Draft, general manager Mickey Loomis was addressing questions about wire taps, bounty hits and suspensions, subjects that have dominated talk around the Black and Gold.

On whether the FBI or State Police have contacted his team? “I don’t know. I have not been,” Loomis said.

He also said the following:

“Look, I welcome an investigation. That’s fine with me.”

“This team is being painted with a broad brush. We’re the Evil Empire right now. That’s the way I see it. I know this: the character of our players and our staff and our coaches is as good as anyone at any sport at any time.”

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