The NFL brought the hammer down on the New Orleans Saints organization for their role in the three-year bounty program uncovered by the league's investigation last month. Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for a year, GM Mickey Loomis for eight games and the Saints will lose second round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL draft. Payton, Loomis and the Saints organization were all fined, as was assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who was also suspended six gams. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinitely.
But that's not all the punishments we'll see. The NFL's statement on the Saints punishment includes this line:
Discipline for individual players involved in the Saints' prohibited program continues to be under review with the NFL Players Association and will be addressed by Commissioner Goodell at a later date.
More suspensions and/or fines could be coming once the league moves onto the players and judging by Roger Goodell's quotes in the NFL's release, those punishments could be severe as well.
"While I will not address player conduct at this time, I am profoundly troubled by the fact that players - including leaders among the defensive players - embraced this program so enthusiastically and participated with what appears to have been a deliberate lack of concern for the well-being of their fellow players," Commissioner Goodell said. "While all club personnel are expected to play to win, they must not let the quest for victory so cloud their judgment that they willingly and willfully target their opponents and engage in unsafe and prohibited conduct intended to injure players."
The NFLPA is conducting its own investigation into the bounty program and doesn't want the players punished until they're able to complete that investigation.
So, as harsh as this punishment is, more could be coming.