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Old 05-02-2012, 11:17 AM   #1
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Breaking NFL bans four players for Saints' bounty roles; Vilma Banned For Season

Saints' Jonathan Vilma suspended for 2012 season

NFL.com
Published: May 2, 2012 at 11:54 a.m.

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been suspended for the 2012 season, as the NFL handed down its player discipline Wednesday for the Saints' pay-for-performance "bounty" scandal.

Three other players -- Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith -- in addition to Vilma were notified that they have been suspended without pay for conduct detrimental to the NFL as a result of their leadership roles in the "bounty" program that endangered player safety over three seasons from 2009-2011.

The discipline breaks down, per a league release, as follows:

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma of the Saints is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective immediately per league policy for season-long suspensions.

Linebacker Scott Fujita (now with the Cleveland Browns) is suspended without pay for the first three games.

Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers) is suspended without pay for the first eight games.

Will Smith of the Saints is suspended without pay for the first four games.

On April 16, sources close to the linebacker told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that Vilma was bracing himself for a suspension ranging anywhere from two to eight games.

Vilma was the only Saints player involved in the "bounty" scandal to see his name released to the public after the details emerged of a program in which then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams orchestrated a pay-for-performance system from 2009 through 2011 that rewarded players for cart off and knock-out hits.

Williams already has been suspended indefinitely by the league, while Saints head coach Sean Payton is suspended without pay for the 2012 season and general manager will miss the first eight games of the season. Assistant coach Joe Vitt, suspended six games for his role in the scandal, will serve as the team's interim head coach in Payton's absence.

According to a Sports Illustrated report from March, Vilma allegedly offered $10,000 to any player who could knock out then-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre from the 2009 NFC Championship Game. During that game Favre endured a number of gruesome hits, and he suffered a nasty ankle injury late in the game.

The Saints spent a portion of their offseason bolstering their linebacking corps, possibly in preparation for Vilma's punishment. The Saints signed middle linebacker Curtis Lofton away from the Atlanta Falcons in March, and later added former St. Louis Ram Chris Chamberlain.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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More bans for the season I am sure will be coming down from the Hammer of the NFL
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:41 PM   #3
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I agree with all the suspension except Vilma. Too much
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:37 PM   #4
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I agree with all the suspension except Vilma. Too much
why do you say it was to much. he offered 10K of his own money to the player who could take out not 1, but 2 opposing QB's. he got what he deserved.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:47 PM   #5
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why do you say it was to much. he offered 10K of his own money to the player who could take out not 1, but 2 opposing QB's. he got what he deserved.
I agree 100%. Fans, players & some media are crying alligator tears over the money that Vilma et al will lose & the impact on the Saints. Yet, as you point out, this man & ASS-sociates were willing to try to risk possibly ending entire careers & long-term health if not (unintentionally possibly the lives) of opposing players. So, they missed in severely injuring the players...Big deal. Should a citizen not get 20 years in prison for attempted murder just cuz he missed? Should I not get thrown under the jail if I fire a gun into a crowd but don't hit anyone? I have no sympathy for these assholes. They had no sympathy or decency or sense of sportsmanship or financial/health consideration for their brethren of the game & their families. FUG'EM!....FUG'EM ALL!

Further & greater...I'm not a Goodell fan, but he has a fiduciary responsibility to protect the NFL...a BUSINESS...a multi-BILLION dollar business. Injury lawsuits from former players are already raining down on the NFL like napalm. Some suits are valid & most are non-related to bounties. However, the NFL has to stop all controllable acts of "blood sportism" as any one lawsuit resulting from proof of such an environment could cost the NFL an order of magnitude more than than the combined loss of pay of all the BARBARIANS involved with Bountygate...and every other JERK who's done such but didn't get caught/busted. What does anyone reading this think would happen if an employee of Microsoft put that company at risk of multiple multi-million dollar lawsuits? You think Bill Gates would suspend that person for part of a year? No...their ass would be fired if not blackballed from the industry.

Regardless of how long this stuff has gone on & how pervasive it has been throughout the league, Goodell has sent a message that even "Klingons" now get...."THIS SHIT WILL STOP OR YOUR ASS WILL BE GRASS!" Heck...I'd throw'em outta the league!
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:19 PM   #6
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Default Counsel says NFL's bounty evidence strong

ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- A former U.S. attorney hired by the NFL to evaluate its investigation of the New Orleans Saints' bounty program said Thursday the evidence shows players received payments for hits on targeted opponents.

Mary Jo White said in a conference call that evidence in the league's investigation of the three-year, pay-for-pain system provided "an unusually strong record" and came from people with "firsthand knowledge and corroborated by documentation."

When asked twice whether any players actually were paid for hits, White confirmed they were, without going into specifics. She added that most of the money in the bounty scheme was provided by the players.

"Without them, there wouldn't been a bounty program," she said.

White, the former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was asked last December by the NFL to examine the evidence.

"The factual basis for the sanctions is quite strong in my opinion," she said. "You must safeguard the identity of people that provide information to you in order to protect them, and also to encourage others in the future to come forward with evidence of wrongdoing. This is certainly not a one-on-one, he-said, she-said record at all. This is multiple independent sources."

White saw no merit in complaints from the players' union that it had not received "detailed or specific evidence from the league of specific players' involvement in an alleged pay-to-injure program."

"The players sanctioned all activity and enthusiastically embraced this program," White said. "They always had the option to say no. They didn't say no.

"It is no defense that coaches were involved in it, this was an individual responsibility each player has and each coach has. Each player had the responsibility to say no to this program and they didn't do that. They obviously had the option to report this to the union and they didn't do that."

Richard Smith, outside counsel for the union, disputed White's evaluation of the evidence.

"I was at the meeting with the NFL's lead investigators in March. She was not there," Smith said. "Anyone, especially former prosecutors like both of us, know that what the league provided could never be called `substantial evidence' of player participation in a pay-to-injure program.

"Worse yet, Mary Jo provided nothing new or compelling today beyond another press briefing."

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and Domonique Foxworth, the recently elected union president, are in New Orleans talking with Saints players.

The four current and former New Orleans players suspended -- linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season; defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, for eight games; defensive end Will Smith, for four games; and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland and a member of the union's executive board, for three games -- were given three days to appeal when commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment Wednesday.

Vilma and Will Smith released statements Wednesday denying any involvement in a bounty program and pledging to fight their penalties.

The league said no player agreed to be interviewed in person, and the players also declined to send someone to argue on their behalf, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. As one NFL source said, "They took the Fifth Amendment."

The NFLPA did not share information from its own investigation, and league sources told Schefter that the union never recommended any discipline in the case.

A Saints source who testified during the league's investigation told ESPN's Ed Werder Wednesday that he believed the league's findings are exaggerated. The source said that while the report said the program existed for three seasons, it was limited to playoff games in the Superdome against Arizona and Minnesota in 2009.

The source told Werder that the program began when former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was concerned about creating a higher level of motivation for his defensive players as they prepared for the postseason.

Before a team meeting, Williams told Vilma that he had a plan, and that the coach provided Vilma with the $10,000 he offered to any teammate who knocked out quarterback Kurt Warner.

The source said Vilma returned the money to Williams following the meeting.

According to the source, Williams believed the financial reward created the proper defensive mindset. So Williams and Vilma repeated the scenario the next week before playing the Vikings and quarterback Brett Favre, who was the victim of several illegal hits and had to be helped from the field, but finished the game.

Union representatives did not say when appeals might be filed. The NFLPA said after the penalties were handed down that it would pursue all options on the Saints players' behalf.
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Old 05-04-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by G-men View Post
I agree with all the suspension except Vilma. Too much
To much???

Not enough,

Look!!!! these guys intentionally attempted to take players out for good, IMO
that is attempted murder, and any 1, that actively participates in something
like that...deserves to be suspended from football till the commissioner decides that they have served enough punishment time for what they've done

so I don't feel sorry for none of the principle parties involved, and I say suspend the entire team and strip them of their Lombardi title

maybe then they'll think twice before doing something so dam stupid
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