NFL: What Should Punishment Be for Saints and Bounty Football?

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IMarch 2, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - JANUARY 24:  Defensive coordinator Greg Williams of the New Orleans Saints looks on against the Minnesota Vikings during the NFC Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome on January 24, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won 31-28 in ovetime. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints have been found guilty by the NFL of intentionally trying to injury players during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 season. They did so by paying bounties to players for intentionally injuring players.

This is not only against the rules of the game, but it also pays players for playing dirty football.

The punishment from the NFL has not yet been decided, but you can expect Roger Goodell to come down hard on New Orleans.

Roger Goodell stated,

“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Commissioner Goodell said in a league-issued release.  “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football:  player safety and competitive integrity.

“It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated.  We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety and we are not going to relent.  We have more work to do and we will do it.”

When the New England Patriots were found guilty of Spygate, the punishment was the harshest in the history of the NFL. Owner Robert Kraft was fined $250,000, coach Bill Belichick was fined an additional $500,000, and the team lost their first-round selection in that draft.

All of these are severe penalties, but with the NFL's rules over the last two years for player safety, this punishment may be even more severe.

James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers was fined over the last two years over $100,000, and suspended for a game for hitting players illegally, risking injury.

In this case, the team has not only tried to injure players, but team members were rewarded for it. To think what the Patriots did was worse than what the Saints did is comical.

It will be interesting what happens next with Goodell, and what his punishment is going to be. If he does not punish the Saints accordingly, he will have not only the NFLPA coming after him, but his ability to punish players like Harrison will be greatly diminished.