Sean Payton Is Out For Season, Full Suspension Upheld After Appeal
The New Orleans Saints will be without head coach Sean Payton after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell decided on Monday to keep the coaches full-season suspension in place following a bounty program that urged players to injure their opponents for bonus money.
Payton was originally scheduled to begin his suspension on April 1, that day has now been moved back to April 16. During his suspension Sean Payton will not be allowed to contact players or team officials. Suspended for eight-games in General Manager Mickey Loomis while assitant head coach Joe Vitt is out for six-games.
Lawyers for the Saints tried to claim that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams acted as a rogue coach, implementing his bounty program with no knowledge of team officials.
Sean Payton will not be suspended without pay for the 2012-2013 season and while that is bad news for the team NFL commissioner Goodell did promise to evaluate the teams performance at the end of the season. If the Saints can’t perform under a replacement coach and end up with a high second round draft pick in the 2013 draft they may be able to keep that draft pick while giving up lower round picks. Goodell said he will also consider reducing financial penalties handed down to Payton, Loomis and Vitt.
The Saints are already being forced to pay a $500,000 fine while losing a second-round pick in 2012. After each coach and GM serves their suspension Roger Goodell must then approve them for reinstatement. In the meantime Gregg Williams is serving an indefinite work stoppage.
In a statement regarding its decision the NFL revealed:
“The club and the individuals will be expected to cooperate in any further proceedings and to assist in the development and implementation of programs to instruct players and coaches at all levels on principles of player safety, fair play, and sportsmanship.”
With Sean Payton suspended the Saints will now turn their attention to finding an interim head coach, names floating around include Steve Spagnuolo, and future hall of fame coach Bill Parcells who mentored Sean Payton and has become good friends with.
In the meantime the NFL can now turn its attention towards 22 players it believes participated in the bounty program, those players may face fines and even suspensions because of their actions.