When Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season because of his role in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system, it was uncertain just how restrictive the punishment will be.
Now, the answer is clear: it will be very restrictive. Payton, whose appeal was turned down last week and began serving the suspension Monday, cannot have contact with the Saints or anyone in the NFL, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. And if he does, he must contact Ray Anderson, the league’s vice-president of football operations. Payton’s suspension is scheduled to end the day after the 2013 Super Bowl.
Greg Aiello of the NFL confirmed the report to USA Today, writing in an email:
“While suspended, coaches or club executives are prohibited from direct or indirect communication of any sort with employees of the 32 NFL Clubs, including through third parties; and such prohibited communications shall include, but are not limited to, phone or electronic contact with employees of any of the 32 NFL Clubs. Except for reasonable contact with the affected club's principal owner and/or human resources manager for personal reasons, this prohibition applies to all club personnel.”
General Manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for the first eight games of the season and Joe Vitt, the interim head coach, has been suspended for the first six regular-season games. He’ll work through training camp and preseason, then begin serving his suspension. The Saints also were fined $500,000 and stripped of two second-round draft picks.
The other open-ended issue for the Saints concerns possible suspensions for defensive players involved in the scandal. According to the NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, Jonathan Vilma is bracing for a suspension of two-to-eight games; Roman Harper and Will Smith also could be punished. Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, may also be suspended. However, he was with the Saints for only one of the three years of the investigation.
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