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View Full Version : The full statement from the league on the Saints’ bounty program



swimeasy
03-05-2012, 10:11 PM
<div class="post-info">Posted by Mike Florio on March 5, 2012, 8:29 PM EST</div>
<div class="post-body clearfix"><span class="enclosure"><span class="caption"></span></span>


[Editor's note: Due to confusion and contradictions and
misinformation regarding the March 2 announcement by the league that the Saints
had violated NFL rules through the use of a bounty program, it makes a lot of
sense to post the full text of the league's release. It probably would have
been smart to do it Friday. But it would have been dumb to not do it now simply
because I now realize I should have done it then. And so the full text of the
release from the NFL appears below, without edits or omissions.]</p>


A lengthy investigation by the NFL’s security department has disclosed that
between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints, as well as at
least one assistant coach, maintained a “bounty” program funded primarily by
players in violation of NFL rules during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the
NFL announced today.</p>


The league’s investigation determined that this improper “Pay for
Performance” program included “bounty” payments to players for inflicting
injuries on opposing players that would result in them being removed from a
game.</p>


The findings – corroborated by multiple independent sources – have been
presented to Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will determine the appropriate
discipline for the violation.</p>


“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just
payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,”
Commissioner Goodell said. “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL
football: player safety and competitive integrity.</p>


“It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our
game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We have made significant
progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety and we are not
going to relent. We have more work to do and we will do it.”</p>


The players regularly contributed cash into a pool and received improper cash
payments of two kinds from the pool based on their play in the previous week’s
game. Payments were made for plays such as interceptions and fumble recoveries,
but the program also included “bounty” payments for “cart-offs” (meaning that
the opposing player was carried off the field) and “knockouts” (meaning that the
opposing player was not able to return to the game).</p>


The investigation showed that the total amount of funds in the pool may have
reached $50,000 or more at its height during the 2009 playoffs. The program paid
players $1,500 for a “knockout” and $1,000 for a “cart-off” with payouts
doubling or tripling during the playoffs.</p>


The investigation included the review of approximately 18,000 documents
totaling more than 50,000 pages, interviews of a wide range of individuals and
the use of outside forensic experts to verify the authenticity of key
documents.</p>


The NFL has a longstanding rule prohibiting “Non-Contract Bonuses.”
Non-contract bonuses violate both the NFL Constitution and By-Laws and the
Collective Bargaining Agreement. Clubs are advised every year of this rule in a
memo from the commissioner. Citing Sections 9.1(C)(8), and 9.3(F) and (G) of the
Constitution and By-Laws, the memo for the 2011 season stated:</p>


“No bonus or award may directly or indirectly be offered, promised,
announced, or paid to a player for his or his team’s performance against a
particular team or opposing player or a particular group thereof. No bonuses or
awards may be offered or paid for on field misconduct (for example, personal
fouls to or injuries inflicted on opposing players).”</p>


“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 Goodell said. “Our
security department interviewed numerous players and other individuals. 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.”</p>


The additional investigation established the following facts:</p>


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.</p>


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.</p>


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.</p>


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.</p>


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.</p>


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.</p>


Commissioner Goodell has advised the Saints that he will hold further
proceedings to determine the discipline to be assessed against individuals and
the club. This will include conferring with the NFL Players Association and
individual player leaders regarding appropriate discipline and remedial
steps.</p>


The discipline could include fines and suspensions and, in light of the
competitive nature of the violation, forfeiture of draft choices. Any discipline
may be appealed as provided for in the Constitution and By-Laws and Collective
Bargaining Agreement. Any appeal would be heard and decided by the
commissioner.</p>


Commissioner Goodell also advised the Saints that he is retaining
jurisdiction and reserving his authority to impose further discipline if
additional information comes to his attention.</p>


</p>

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/03/05/the-full-statement-from-the-league-on-the-saints-bounty-program/related/
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RoanokeFan
03-05-2012, 10:16 PM
So now we wait for a significant number of shoes to drop.

Patton 20
03-05-2012, 10:21 PM
I have always lived with this credo, if I have done nothing wrong let the chips fall where they may.
On the other hand, if someone has done somwething they don't have a simple answer for, they will not not sleep well for the next few days/weeks

"20"