The NFL announced Wednesday that New Orleans Saints‘ head coach, Sean Payton, will be suspended for the 2012 season without pay for his involvement in the team’s bounty program. Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has been suspended for eight games and fined $500,000. Former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, who is now the DC for the St. Louis Rams, received an indefinite suspension — the harshest penalty handed out today — as he was the bounty program’s master mind. Current Saints’ assistant head coach, Joe Vitt, has been suspended six games. The Saints as a franchise were also fined $500,000 and will lose a second-round pick in both the 2012 and 2013 draft.
The NFL’s investigation into the bounty program found that the Saints front office gave thousands of dollars in payoffs to players for hits that knocked opponents out of games. The program, organized by defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, reached an all-time high in 2009, the Saints’ Super Bowl year.
The program is in complete violation of league rules, and the investigation showed that Saints players received $1,500 for a “knockout” hit and $1,000 for a “cart-off” hit, with payouts doubling or tripling during the team’s three playoff appearances.