The NFL, in the wake of the severe penalties that it imposed in the bounty case involving the New Orleans Saints, has told each of its teams to certify in writing that it does not have a bounty program in operation.
The instruction was given to all 32 teams in a memo Wednesday, according to the league. The written certifications are due by March 30 and must be signed by the team’s head coach and owner.
“Bounty programs have no place in our game,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “They are incompatible with our efforts to promote sportsmanship, fair play, and player safety.”
Teams already are required to certify annually that they complied with all league rules relating to fair competition. In the future, according to the league, each team’s annual certification that it complied with all integrity-of-the-game rules will include specific references to bounty systems and pay-for-performance programs.
All pay-for-performance programs, including those in which players receive cash payments for key plays such as interceptions and fumble recovers, violate NFL rules, according to the league.
The league announced Wednesday that it had suspended Saints Coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for their roles in the team’s bounty program, in which players were paid for hits that injured opponents. Payton was suspended for the entire upcoming season. Loomis was suspended for eight games. Williams, now the defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, was suspended indefinitely, with his case to be reviewed after the season. In addition, the Saints were fined $500,000 and stripped of a pair of second-round draft picks.
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