Jonathan Vilma suspended one year for Saints’ bounty program
The NFL suspended 4 players for their roles in the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system, including linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season
As well as Vilma, defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers) was suspended 8 games, defensive Will Smith 4 games and linebacker Scott Fujita (now with the Cleveland Browns) 3 games. Sportsbook
All of the suspensions are without pay.
All 4 player suspensions will be appealed, according to NFL source announced. “Get ready for large multiple legal battle over this on several fronts.”
The NFL Players Association released a statement claiming it still hasn’t received “any detailed or particular evidence from the league of these categorical players’ inclusion in a purported pay-to-injure plan.”
“We have made it clear that punishment lacking evidence is not fair. We have spoken with our players and their representatives and we may energetically safeguard and address all alternatives on their behalf,” the NFLPA announced.
The players’ appeals will be heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Online Sportsbook
“No bounty plan can exist without active player participation,” Goodell said in the league’s declaration exclaiming the penalties. “The evidence obviously showed that the players being held accountable today eagerly and enthusiastically welcomed the bounty program. Players put the vast majority of the money into this program and they share responsibility for playing by the guidelines and protecting each other inside those rules.”
The suspended players, apart from Vilma, are allowed to take part in their groups’ offseason and preseason activities. Vilma’s suspension begins immediately and will end after the Super Bowl.
The NFL cited specific evidence against the 4 players in its ruling:
•The league said Fujita promised “a major amount of money” to the Saints’ bounty system.
•Hargrove submitted a signed declaration to the NFL not just that the Saints’ bounty plan existed, but that he was an active partaker in it. Additionally, the NFL expounded that Hargrove told 1 player on another team that previous Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was a target of the Saints’ bounty pool in the 2009 NFC Championship Game and that Hargrove obstructed the league’s inquiry in 2010 when he wasn’t honest with investigators.
•Smith, according to the NFL, helped former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams create and fund the bounty pool when he was a captain of the defense.
•Vilma, is also alleged to have helped Williams create and fund the plan. Additionally, the NFL said Vilma promised $10,000 in cash to any Saints player who knocked former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner out of the 2009 divisional playoff game concerning the teams and then repeated the pledge for Favre for the NFC title game.
Warner was among several former and current NFL players to react on social media to the NFL’s ruling.
The NFL also sent an email to its teams in which Goodell “re-emphasized that any system of non-contract bonuses, however it is characterized, is a contravention of league rules” and made public categorical steps it predicted players and coaches to complete to ensure bounties are not practiced in the league.