No announcement yet.

The full statement from the league on the Saints’ bounty program

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The full statement from the league on the Saints’ bounty program

    <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

    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

    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

    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

    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 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>


  • #2
    Re: The full statement from the league on the Saints’ bounty program

    So now we wait for a significant number of shoes to drop.
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


    • #3
      Re: The full statement from the league on the Saints’ bounty program

      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