The punishment for those involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal is in and it's bigger than expected. According to multiple reports, Saints head coach Sean Payton will be suspended for one full year for his role in the scandal, GM Mickey Loomis has been suspended eight games and the Saints organization itself has been fined $500,000 and stripped of second round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL draft. Gregg Williams, former Saints defensive coordinator who is now with the St. Louis Rams, has been suspended indefinitely. Joe Vitt, assistant head coach, has been suspended six games without pay.
Payton's suspension begins April 1.
The punishment is stunning, particularly for Payton, who will be gone for an entire season. This is a head coach two years removed from a Super Bowl victory we're talking about. The Saints are one of the premier organizations in the league and the NFL came down on them incredibly hard.
Considering the Saints actions, or in the case of Payton and Loomis their inaction, the punishment speaks volumes about the league's stance on bounties. The league has focused on player safety in the Roger Goodell era and the Saints bounty scandal flies right in the face of all those efforts. The league had to make a statement about actions like this and this punishment speaks volumes.
We're also waiting to hear whether any Saints players will be punished. The NFLPA is conducting their own investigation and has requested that the punishment of any players to be delayed until they're done.