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Posted at 01:57 PM ET, 04/09/2012

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upholds penalties against Saints’ coaches, team in bounty scheme

The NFL has upheld the suspensions of New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for their roles in the team’s bounty scheme, the league announced Monday.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who levied the penalties last month, upheld the suspensions after consideration of the appeals, the league said.

Payton’s season-long suspension will begin April 16, according to the league’s announcement. The eight-game suspension of Loomis and six-game suspension of Vitt will begin after the preseason.

All three appealed after they were suspended for their roles in the Saints’ bounty program, which awarded players cash payments for hits that injured opponents. Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams did not appeal his indefinite suspension. His case will be reviewed following the 2012 season.

The suspensions are without pay, but the league announced that the financial penalties against the three could be reduced based on their cooperation with further proceedings in the case.

The Saints also appealed their penalties, which included a $500,000 fine and the loss of a pair of second-round draft choices. The Saints’ appeal also was rejected, but the league announced that Goodell might consider modifying the loss of the team’s second-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

The league’s written statement said: “The team and the 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.

“If they embrace the opportunity and participate in a constructive way, Commissioner Goodell said he would consider mitigating the financial penalties on the individuals. In the case of the team, the commissioner would consider whether there are factors that would support modifying the forfeiture of the team’s 2013 second-round draft choice.”

The Saints declined to comment, according to a team spokesman.

The Saints have not named an interim coach to replace Payton. But Payton’s former boss in Dallas, Bill Parcells, has been mentioned as a leading candidate.

Penalties against the players involved in the scheme are pending. According to a league investigation, the bounty program was primarily funded by players and was in place the past three seasons.

More on the Saints’ bounty scandal:

Report: Payton talking to Parcells about coaching Saints

Can Saints win without Payton?

Redskins cleared for now

Hard Hits: Bounties or not, football is a brutal game

By  |  01:57 PM ET, 04/09/2012

 
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