Like comic book hero Thor, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell brought down the heavy hammer of justice on the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday for the team’s role in rewarding players for intentionally injuring the opposition.
In suspending Saints coach Sean Payton for the entire season, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely, general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games, assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six games, fining the team $500,000 and taking away second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013 (that’s a lot of work for one day), Goodell sends the message that this kind of behavior won’t be acceptable on his watch.
“Beyond the clear and continuing violations of league rules, and lying to investigators, the bounty program is squarely contrary to the league’s most important initiatives – enhancing player health and safety and protecting the integrity of the game,” Goodell said in a statement announcing the discipline. “Let me be clear. There is no place in the NFL for deliberately seeking to injure another player, let alone offering a reward for doing so. Any form of bounty is incompatible with our commitment to create a culture of sportsmanship, fairness, and safety. Programs of this kind have no place in our game and we are determined that bounties will no longer be a part of the NFL.”