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Thread: NFL: Saints defense had 'bounty' fund

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    Elite Member C_is_for_Cookie's Avatar
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    Default NFL: Saints defense had 'bounty' fund

    NFL: Saints defense had 'bounty' fund



    Between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints, as well as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, maintained a "bounty" program funded primarily by players in violation of NFL rules during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the NFL announced Friday.

    The investigation by the league's security department determined that an improper "pay for performance" program included "bounty" payments to players for inflicting injuries on opposing players that would result in them being removed from a game. In some cases, the amounts pledged were both significant and directed against a specific opposing player, according to the league's investigation. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis failed to stop the bounty program when directed to do so by team owner Tom Benson, while coach Sean Payton was aware of the allegations but did not pursue them or take steps to stop the "bounty" program, according to the investigation's findings.

    The findings, corroborated by multiple independent sources, have been presented to commissioner Roger Goodell, who will determine the appropriate discipline.

    "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 in a statement. "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."

    Goodell has advised the Saints that he will hold proceedings to determine potential discipline against the team and the individuals involved, and confer with the players' union regarding the appropriate punishment. That discipline could include fines, suspensions and the forfeiture of draft choices.

    "I have been made aware of the NFL's findings relative to the 'Bounty Rule' and how it relates to our club. I have offered and the NFL has received our full cooperation in their investigation," Benson said in a statement. "While the findings may be troubling, we look forward to putting this behind us and winning more championships in the future for our fans."

    Williams did not immediately return calls from ESPN seeking comment.
    According to the investigation, the players regularly contributed cash into a pool and received improper cash payments of two kinds from the pool, based on their play in the previous week's game.

    Williams administered the program with the knowledge of other defensive coaches and occasionally contributed funds, according to the league investigation.

    Payments were made for plays such as interceptions and fumble recoveries. But the program also included "bounty" payments for "cart-offs," meaning that the opposing player was carried off the field, and "knockouts," meaning that the opposing player was not able to return.
    The investigation showed that the total amount of funds in the pool may have reached $50,000 or more at its height during the 2009 playoffs. The program paid players $1,500 for a "knockout" and $1,000 for a "cart-off," with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs.
    "The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for 'performance,' but also for injuring opposing players," Goodell said in a statement. "The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity."
    The NFL has a longstanding rule prohibiting "non-contract bonuses," and they violate both the league constitution and bylaws and the collective bargaining agreement with the players' union. Clubs are advised every year of this rule in a memo from the commissioner.
    "Our investigation began in early 2010 when allegations were first made that Saints players had targeted opposing players, including Kurt Warner of the Cardinals and Brett Favre of the Vikings," Goodell said in a statement. "Our security department interviewed numerous players and other individuals.

    "At the time, those interviewed denied that any such program existed and the player that made the allegation retracted his earlier assertions. As a result, the allegations could not be proven," Goodell said.

    "We recently received significant and credible new information and the investigation was re-opened during the latter part of the 2011 season."

    According to the NFL investigation, Benson was not initially aware of the bounty program and directed Loomis to make sure it was discontinued immediately. The evidence showed Loomis did not do so, investigators found.

    "Similarly, when the initial allegations were 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," according to the league's findings.

    Payton "was not a direct participant in the funding or administration of the program," according to the investigation.
    However, Payton "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 investigation found.
    The investigation included the review of approximately 18,000 documents totaling more than 50,000 pages, interviews of a wide range of individuals and the use of outside forensic experts to verify the authenticity of key documents

    ESPN.com
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Jack Tatum was doing this back in the 70's. LT in the 80's. I assumed lots of them do it, just quietly.
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Well,gee. This is no shock. These are football players, not ballerinas.
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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    Jack Tatum was doing this back in the 70's. LT in the 80's. I assumed lots of them do it, just quietly.
    That's what Mike Wilbon said on PTI. The Saints made the mistake of getting caught.
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Football's Bounty Hunters Must Be Clipped

    Payments for causing injury are unacceptable. Gregg Williams should never be seen in the NFL again.

    By FRAN TARKENTON

    Football is a tough, physical game. It is violent. But there is a line between being violent and being vicious. Former New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams crossed that line when he established a bounty system that rewarded players—not for tough, clean football plays but for injuring other players.

    While coaching the New Orleans defense the last three seasons, Mr. Williams paid bonuses to players for knocking opponents out of the game. The rewards were $1,500 for a knockout, and $1,000 if the player had to be carted off the field. In the playoffs, rewards doubled and tripled.

    Following his coach's lead, linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered a $10,000 bounty to any Saints player who could knock Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game during the Saints Super Bowl run in the 2009 season.

    Former players from Mr. Williams's previous career stops in Washington and Buffalo have come forward to describe similar schemes he ran for those teams, as well.
    These bounty systems are despicable.

    I played football professionally for 18 years. I played against some of the toughest men imaginable. Mean Joe Greene. Deacon Jones. Bob Lilly. Ray Nitschke. Dick Butkus. Jack Youngblood. And I risked getting hit more than any other quarterback of my day. No one ran more than I did—forwards, backwards, and side-to-side.

    But in those 18 years, I only missed five games due to injury. My opponents wanted to beat me, and they certainly wanted to hit me to achieve that goal—but no one wanted to hurt another player deliberately. For all our competitive fire, and despite that strong desire to destroy our opposition, as professional NFL players we were part of a brotherhood. There was no joy in seeing someone injured on the field of play, even if it gave our team a better chance to win. After all, we wanted to prove that we were the best; and to be the best, you have to beat the best—not beat the JV.

    But with the bounty system run by Mr. Williams, football as a fierce but honorable competition is dropped on its head.

    Over the past few days, there have been many current players and NFL analysts saying that this story is no big deal. Every team does this, they say.

    That is ridiculous. Bounties are not part of the game in any way.

    Since news of this story broke last week, I have talked to dozens of former teammates and opponents. On my Sirius XM radio show Monday night, I talked to the toughest of them all, Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik—who played every snap on both sides of the ball for the Philadelphia Eagles. The response was unanimous. They did not put bounties on other players, and those who do so are not tough—they are cowards.

    Peyton Manning's neck injuries, which kept him out all of last season, may have something to do with a vicious hit during a game against the Washington Redskins when Mr. Williams was coaching there. It was one of the worst hits I have ever seen, as one player tackles him low from the side, before another hits him high head-on, bending him backwards and ripping his helmet off in the process.

    During the Saints' Super Bowl run, opposing quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre were hit repeatedly. Mr. Warner went flying through the air and was briefly knocked out of the game after one particularly vicious hit. Mr. Favre was hit on almost every play, including many inexcusable late hits coming well after throwing the ball or even handing it off to a running back. That was the last game Mr. Warner ever played.

    This is a particularly nightmarish scenario for the NFL in light of the league's concussion problem. For years, the league denied that football hits and concussions had a connection to health problems in former players, but now studies have shown that there are devastating long-term consequences from head trauma.

    Football is a violent, dangerous game that leads to terrible injuries even when the players are not deliberately trying to knock one another out of the game. Players, like all people, respond to incentives. When you incentivize them to get opponents carried off the field on a stretcher, they are going to attempt to cause serious injuries.

    This opens the NFL up to serious legal consequences and risks a fan backlash.

    Audiences love hard competition. They do not want to see gang warfare on a football field.

    The NFL has to come down hard on this scandal because every team, coach and player needs to get the message that this is not ok. Gregg Williams should never be seen in the NFL again. Others in the Saints organization who knew about the bounties and did not stop them, including General Manager Mickey Loomis and Head Coach Sean Payton, both of whom I like and respect, must also be severely punished. Players who participated should face consequences, and the Saints 2009 Super Bowl championship will be forever tarnished.

    These are harsh punishments, but the game of football must purge itself of this heinous blight.




    Fran Tarkenton: Football's Bounty Hunters Must Be Clipped - WSJ.com
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    Elite Member nancydrew's Avatar
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    I fucking HATE Greg Williams, he ruined everything last season with his bullshit play calling, but if anyone thinks that he and Jonathon Vilma are the only people to do this type of shit in the NFL they are fucking cra-cra. Every team does it, just this time someone got butt hurt and ratted them out ....*side eyes Jeremy Shockey and Reggie Bush*

    And hell nah their Super Bowl win is not tarnished, that is bullshit. If theirs is tarnished, so is every other game any other team has ever won in the history of the game.
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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    The whole team shouldn't suffer. The players who did this and got paid for it should. And saying that Sean Payton was aware of the allegations but did nothing is just goofy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancydrew View Post
    I fucking HATE Greg Williams, he ruined everything last season with his bullshit play calling, but if anyone thinks that he and Jonathon Vilma are the only people to do this type of shit in the NFL they are fucking cra-cra. Every team does it, just this time someone got butt hurt and ratted them out ....*side eyes Jeremy Shockey and Reggie Bush*

    And hell nah their Super Bowl win is not tarnished, that is bullshit. If theirs is tarnished, so is every other game any other team has ever won in the history of the game.
    This and I don't think it would be Shockey*cause I freaking love him but maybe Bush. I hope they get this all sorted out before next season
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    Elite Member nancydrew's Avatar
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    It pained me to even think Shockey because I would leave my entire life for that man, but he comes across to be a vindictive little bitch some times. So of course, I immediately side-eyed him when this came out.
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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    I just read that Sean Payton was suspended without pay for a fucking year for this shit!!!
    Here's the article.... link at bottom.

    New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year, the team will lose its second round pick in 2012 and '13 and pay $500,000 as a result of the NFL's bounty investigation, the league announced Wednesday.
    Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who orchestrated the program, has been suspended from the NFL indefinitely. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis faces an eight-game suspension and a $500,000 fine.
    READ: The NFL's press release

    New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, foreground, and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, background, pictured in 2010.


    CAPTION
    By Patrick Semansky, AP



    The NFL revealed in early March an investigation which found more than 20 defensive players for the Saints participated in a 'bounty' system from 2009 to '11 which rewarded individuals with cash for harming opposing players.

    "We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game," Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday. "We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised."
    The league found that the cash pool reached $50,000 or more during the 2009 playoffs, and players were paid $1,500 for a "knockout" and $1,000 for a "cart-off" with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs. Money was provided primarily by players.
    All such payments violate league rules for non-contract bonuses.
    Williams administered the program, and the NFL says Payton was not a direct participant, yet was aware of the allegations and "failed to stop the bounty program." Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt is also suspended without pay for the first six games of the 2012 season.
    "A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious," Goodell continued. "When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game."

    The New Orleans Saints face numerous punishments as a result of a three-year bounty program.


    CAPTION
    By Derick E. Hingle, US Presswire



    Payton and Loomis took "full responsibility" for the violations in a joint statement issued days after the findings, and later met with Goodell in New York to discuss the issue.

    The pair apologized for the "unique hardship" on team owner Tom Benson, recognized the severity of the violations, and promised that they "will never happen again."
    Williams, who left the Saints this offseason to become defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, apologized for his program, which he reportedly also implemented in several other NFL cities. Commissioner Goodell will review Williams' status at the conclusion of the 2012 season and consider whether to reinstate him.
    "I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again," Williams said.
    Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma became the player face of the program following an SI.com report describing his $10,000 offer to any player who could knock Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship Game. The league did not hand down punishment for any players involved on Wednesday, but ESPN reports that the issue is still under review.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communit...unty-program/1
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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    and Williams indefinitely. wow, heavy.
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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    no shit. shedevil is gonna blow a fucking gasket up in heyah!
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    Elite Member shedevilang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1973 View Post
    no shit. shedevil is gonna blow a fucking gasket up in heyah!
    like I said I am getting my sniper gear together fuck Roger Goodell. I know what they did was wrong, I get that but every fucking team in the NFL does this we just got caught. I'm too pissed to even think strait much less make any sense on here lmao. Greg Williams is on my fucking hit list too stupid bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by shedevilang View Post
    like I said I am getting my sniper gear together fuck Roger Goodell. I know what they did was wrong, I get that but every fucking team in the NFL does this we just got caught. I'm too pissed to even think strait much less make any sense on here lmao. Greg Williams is on my fucking hit list too stupid bastard
    there have been players who admitted there was some informal stuff like this going on amongst themselves in the past, but these same guys were adamant that's as far as it went....there hasn't been anyone or anything to indicate that coaches and administration have been in on it, encouraging and condoning it, before. I think it's despicable and good for Goodell.
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    Wow....Goodell threw the book at em.

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