Saints coach Sean Payton suspended for one year

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  March 21, 2012 12:47 PM

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The NFL has suspended Saints coach Sean Payton for the entire season for the Saints' "Bountygate" program in which players were paid bonuses for injuring opposing players in the 2009-2011 seasons.

The Saints were fined $500,000 and will forfeit their second- and third-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013. General manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games without pay, and assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended without pay for six games.

Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was the Saints' defensive coordinator at the time of Bountygate in the 2009 season, has been suspended indefinitely. His status will be reviewed after the 2012 season.

We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released by the league. We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not
be compromised.

A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious. When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.

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