The NFL suspended New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012-13 season for his role in Bountygate.
The NFL also announced suspensions of Scott Fujita for three regular-season games, Anthony Hargrove for eight games, and Will Smith for four games. Vilma was considered the ringleader of the bonuses for vicious hits on opposing players, while Hargrove was caught talking about knocking out Brett Favre in a playoff game. The four players have three days to appeal the decision.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had previously suspended Saints coach Sean Payton for the entire season. In addition to suspending Payton, Goodell also suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games; fined the Saints $500,000 and forfeiture of the second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013. Assistant head coach Joe Vitt, who was expected to fill in for Payton, has also been suspended for six games and fined $100,000.
Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who organized the bounty system, was suspended indefinitely by the NFL.
Beyond the clear and continuing violations of league rules, and lying to investigators, the bounty program is squarely contrary to the league's most important initiatives -- enhancing player health and safety and protecting the integrity of the game, Goodell said a statement.
Let me be clear. There is no place in the NFL for deliberately seeking to injure another player, let alone offering a reward for doing so. Any form of bounty is incompatible with our commitment to create a culture of sportsmanship, fairness, and safety. Programs of this kind have no place in our game and we are determined that bounties will no longer be a part of the NFL.