The New Orleans Saints appear to be in violation of some major NFL rules. According to the NFL, between 22 and 27 Saints players and at least one assistant coach participated in a bounty program from 2009-11, which was administered by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Williams is no longer the Saints defensive coordinator but head coach Sean Payton was aware of the program.
The bounty program had players contributing cash to a pool which would pay the players for injuring other players -- $1,500 for a "knockout" of another player and $1,000 for a "cart-off". The details are almost unbelievable:
""The bounty program was administered by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams with the knowledge of other defensive coaches. Funds were contributed on occasion by Williams." The NFL said its "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 investigation started when there were allegations made that the Saints were targeting players. Saints owner Tom Benson said he was unaware of it.
"The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,' but also for injuring opposing players," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released by the league. "The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.
The discipline will be coming from Goodell and could include anything from fines, suspensions or even forfeiture of draft picks. The investigation included over 18,000 documents and 50,000 pages.