The NFL handed down heavy penalties to the New Orleans Saints after substantiating reports that the defensive players engaged in a bounty program. Under instruction from the coach and defensive coordinator, players were paid bonuses for causing injuries to opposing players. According to ESPN, between 22 and 27 Saints players participated in the practice, which peaked during the Saints run to The Super Bowl in 2009.
As a result, the coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton, has been suspended for an entire year without pay and the former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, has been suspended indefinitely. On top of the suspensions the organization has been fined $500,000 and will lose their second round draft picks for 2012 and 2013.
“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement announcing the punishments. “We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it.”