The New Orleans Saints will face severe NFL discipline after the league announced findings that the team was in violation of the "Bounty Rule". The NFL announced that between 22-27 defensive players and at least one assistant coach maintained a "bounty" program that paid players for "cart-offs" and "knockouts". The program was run in 2009, 2010 and 2011. The pool reached $50,000 in 2009 and paid $1,500 for a knockout and $1,000 for a cart-off. The payouts doubled or tripled during the playoffs. "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," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. " Our security deptartment interviewed numerous players and other individiuals. 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. We recently received significant and credible new information and the investigation was re-opened during the latter part of the 2011 season." These facts were also discovered and detailed by the NFL: "1. During the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the players and other participants involved used their own money to fund a “Pay for Performance” program. Players earned cash awards for plays such as interceptions or fumble recoveries. They also earned “bounty” payments for “cart-offs” and “knockouts.” All such payments violate league rules for non-contract bonuses." "2. Players were willing and enthusiastic participants in the program, contributing regularly and at times pledging large amounts. Between 22 and 27 defensive players contributed funds to the pool over the course of three NFL seasons. In some cases, the amounts pledged were both significant and directed against a specific opposing player." "3. The bounty program was administered by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the knowledge of other defensive coaches. Funds were contributed on occasion by Williams." "4. Saints owner Tom Benson gave immediate and full cooperation to the investigators. The evidence conclusively established that Mr. Benson was not aware of the bounty program. When informed earlier this year of the new information, Mr. Benson advised league staff that he had directed his general manager, Mickey Loomis, to ensure that any bounty program be discontinued immediately. The evidence showed that Mr. Loomis did not carry out Mr. Benson’s directions. 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." "5. Although head coach Sean Payton was not a direct participant in the funding or administration of the program, he 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." "6. There is no question that a bounty program violates long-standing league rules. Payments of this type – even for legitimate plays such as interceptions or fumble recoveries – are forbidden because they are inconsistent with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and well-accepted rules relating to NFL player contracts." The Saints will be subject to fines, suspensions and could have draft picks taken away.
Saints in violation of "Bounty Rule"
Nov. 6, 2013
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Saints in violation of "Bounty Rule"
The New Orleans Saints will face severe NFL discipline after the league announced findings that the team was in violation of the 'Bounty Rule'. The NFL announced that between 22-27 defensive
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