On Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear that it wasn't only the Saints coaches that were responsible for Bountygate.
Over a month ago, Sean Payton was suspended for a year, and Greg Williams was suspended indefinitely. Now, the commissioner has suspended a few players who were involved in the Saints pay-for-play system from 2009-2011.
New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been suspended for a year for his part in the scandal. Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was given eight games, Will Smith got four, and linebacker Scott Fujita will miss the first three games of the 2012 NFL Season. Hargrove and Fujita are no longer with the Saints.
A lot of players expressed their shock at the number of games that these current and former Saints will be forced to miss without pay. However, according to one player, these lengthy suspensions won't hold up for very long.
Thx for the fans that read the truth about the bounty!! I hear the commish will reduce all suspensions...Its not right and will be resolved, tweeted Jeremy Shockey.
The free agent linebacker played for New Orleans from 2008-2010. Shockey didn't offer up any additional information, only saying that he was not the one who gave the league the information they needed to hand out the suspensions.
It sux to see my friends get suspended!! he tweeted. If you can read make sure u look at quotes from them and sean payton and nfl commish i didnt snitch.
In March, former defensive lineman and current NFL Network analyst, Warren Sapp, claimed that Shockey had initially told Goodell about what the Saints were doing. Shockey has repeatedly denied the allegations.
The suspended players are expected to appeal the suspensions. Vilma, for one, will not accept sitting on the sidelines for all of 2012.
I never set out to intentionally hurt any player and never enticed any teammate to intentionally hurt another player. I also never put any money into a bounty pool or helped to create a bounty pool intended to pay out money for injuring other players, said Vilma in a statement. I have always conducted myself in a professional and proud manner. I intend to fight this injustice, to defend my reputation, to stand up for my team and my profession, and to send a clear signal to the commissioner that the process has failed, to the detriment of me, my teammates, the New Orleans Saints and the game.
ESPN's Adam Schefter said all four players will appeal their suspensions, resulting in a large legal battle.