League officials from the NFL are considering severe consequences regarding the alleged bounty program that was created for several teams in the league. Reportedly, the NFL could seek to implement lengthy and costly suspensions for some of the New Orleans Saints top brass including Coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and former coach Gregg Williams, the alleged orchestrator of the bounty program.
By Sunday morning, four NFL teams, the Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and the New Orleans Saints, were linked to the bounty scandal in which players were offered bonuses and rewards for injuring certain quarterbacks in the league. Former Saints defense coordinator Greg Williams is accused of designing the bounty program. He was part of each team's coaching staff at one point in his career, reported the Washington Post.
While nothing has been official and no announcement has been made, reports indicated that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell could be unprecedented, reported the Washington Post. Payton and Loomis could face penalties for failing to prevent the practice, while Williams could face penalties for allegedly running and administrating the program.
The bounty system reportedly involved 22 to 27 players, according to an NFL investigation. Knockouts were reportedly worth $1,500 and so-called cart-offs earned a player $1,000, with extra bonuses during the NFL playoffs, reported the Christian Science Monitor. NFL Investigators said that its findings were corroborated by multiple sources.
Williams admitted to running the bounty pool over the last three seasons. He will meet with NFL investigators in New York to discuss possible ramifications, reported Sports Illustrated.
It was a terrible mistake, Williams said in a statement Friday night shortly after the NFL released the report. And we knew it was wrong while we were doing it.
The NFL is reportedly addressing the issues raised as part of our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of the game, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.
Players, however, are not shocked that such a program has been going on.
I knew they existed, former All-Pro guard Alan Faneca said, according to Sports Illustrated. If I hadn't heard of it, I guess I just assumed that it went on. I wouldn't say that I knew of a team that did it all the time, more just in big games.
However, Bills CEO Russ Brandon denied any knowledge that such a system took place while Williams was the head coach of his team.
We would not have tolerated that type of behavior, he said, according to Yahoo.
Reports also indicate that criminal against participates in the bounty are possible.
Promoting violence in pro sports is getting tougher scrutiny these days from prosecutors. In 2000, Canadian prosecutors filed assault charges Boston Bruins player Marty McSorley for attacking Vancouver Canucks player Donald Brashear with his stick. Brashear lost consciousness and had memory problems. While this particular case did not involve any bounty system, it points out the willing of prosecutors to punish those involved in intentionally, malicious hits, reported the Christian Science Monitor.
Football commissionor Roger Gooddell, warned against teams of instituted such practices in the future.
The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for 'performance,' but also for injuring opposing players, Commissioner Roger Goodell said of the Saints in a statement Friday. The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.