NEW YORK — The NFL says that New Orleans Saints players maintained a bounty program over the last three seasons that targeted opponents with the intent to injure them.If this is true, that assistant coach should not work in the NFL ever again. How hideous.
The league disclosed the findings of an investigation Friday, saying between 22 and 27 defensive players and at least one assistant coach were involved. No punishments have been handed out yet, but they could include suspensions and fines.
Commissioner Roger Goodell says he is troubled because the system "involved not just payments for `performance,' but also for injuring opposing players. The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity."
The league's investigation shows the pool for the bounty program may have surpassed $50,000 at its height during the 2009 playoffs. New Orleans won the Super Bowl that season.
... More despicable details:
the investigation showed that Saints players received $1,500 for a “knockout” hit and $1,000 for a “cart-off” hit with payouts doubling or tripling during the team's three playoff appearances. * * *
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King has more details on the Saints’ bounty program, including that “linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered any defensive teammate $10,000 in cash to knock then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the [NFC title] game.” As Favre finished the game, that bounty presumably went uncollected by Bobby McCray or anyone else.