In perhaps the least-surprising news of the NFL offseason, Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the penalties he imposed on the New Orleans Saints and Coach Sean Payton in connection with Bountygate.
Payton will begin serving his year-long suspension without pay April 16. General Manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight games of the season and assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended for six games. The three had appealed the penalties, handed down March 21 after the league’s three-year investigation into violations of the anti-bounty policy. In addition, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely. He did not appeal and his case is expected to be reviewed after the season.
The NFL said in a statement that it would consider decreasing the financial penalties on the coaches and general manager, as well as restoring the team’s second-round pick in the 2013 draft, based on certain conditions. “The club and individuals will be expected to cooperate in any further proceedings and to assist in the development and implementation of programs to instruct players and coaches at all levels on principles of player safety, fair play and sportsmanship,” the NFL’s statement said. “If they embrace the opportunity and participate in a constructive way, Commissioner Goodell said he would consider mitigating the financial penalties on the individuals.”
Player penalties remain a possibility.
Now, the Saints will turn to deciding who will coach the team in 2012, whether the best option is from within the coaching staff or from outside, in someone like Bill Parcells.
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