While it is unlikely that penalties and fines will be handed down to New Orleans Saints players this week, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Wednesday that he is almost done conducting interviews regarding player participation in the bounty program.
Speaking at an NFL draft event Goodell said he doesn’t expect to issue any final decisions this week but admitted the league is:
“In the final stages of working on discipline involving the players. We hope to do that very soon and get that behind us.”
Before conducting individual player interviews league officials determined that the bounty program ran from 2009-2011 and that both players and coaches were involved in the program. Already suspended for a full season is Saints head coach Sean Payton while assistant coach Joe Vitt must sit out the first six games of the regular season. Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis is also out on suspension for eight games. All men associated with NFL bounty suspensions are forbidden from making contact with anyone in the NFL during that time.
The NFL recently announced that as many as 27 New Orleans Saints players were involved in the pay-for-pain program which earned players extra cash when they successfully injured star players from other NFL teams.
In the meantime Roger Goodell has said that the excuse of “just following orders” will not fly for any players found guilty of participating in the program.
If that isn’t enough of a headache the FBI in conjunction with the NFL’s front office are currently investigating the New Orleans Saints after claims were made that the visiting teams suite had been wiretapped by Loomis during the 2002-2004 seasons.
Here’s just one example of why the NFL has went after the New Orleans Saints so hard over the bounty program (former Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams before the 49ers game):