NFL Suspends Four Players for Taking Part In New Orleans Saints Bounty Program — Who’s Gone for a Whole Year?
The NFL suspended four players on Wednesday for their involvement in the New Orleans Saints' bounty system that encouraged players to injure opponents for financial rewards.
The league suspended Saints' linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season, while Saints' defensive end Will Smith was suspended for four games. Defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, who is now with the Green Bay Packers, was suspended for eight games. Linebacker Scott Fujita, who is now with the Cleveland Browns, was suspended for three games.
An NFL investigation showed each of the suspended players was directly implicated in creating, leading or actively participating in the bounty system.
The NFL previously suspended Saints' head coach Sean Payton for a year, former Saints' defensive coordinator Greg Williams indefinitely, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games and Saints' assistant head coach Joe Vitt for six games for their role in the bounty system.
All four of the suspended players were given the opportunity to meet with the NFL to address the charges, but declined to do so. Each player is expected to appeal their suspension and seek legal recourse, if necessary.
With the exception of Vilma, the suspended players will be allowed to take part in their teams' off-season activities. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will hear the players' appeals.