Sean Payton Suspended: Twitter Explodes as NFL Penalizes Saints
Continuing what has been one of the craziest NFL offseasons in recent memory, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for a full year without pay due to his role in a bounty system that rewarded defensive players for attempting to injury opposing players.
According to the NFL's official announcement obtained by Pro Football Talk, commissioner Roger Goodell decided to suspend Payton for a full season, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games, and current St. Louis Rams and former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely for their involvement. The organization was also fined $500,000 and docked two second-round draft picks.
Saints beat writer James Varney is reporting that Williams lied when first confronted about the bounty system, but that he later explained the scheme to investigators. This could explain why he may face a longer suspension than others.
Most of the talk has centered on Payton, however. He is a Super-Bowl-winning coach who is considered one of the best in the NFL today, so his suspension has certainly reverberated. Payton's suspension will begin on April 1, according to Pro Football Talk, so he won't even be able to be present for April's draft.
Was suspending Sean Payton for a year the right move?
The universe of Twitter never hesitates to sound off about anything, and the Payton situation has certainly been no different. There has been no shortage of strong and/or humorous comments regarding Payton's ban.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is currently involved in a contract dispute, wasn't shy about expressing his opinions regarding the suspension. He had nothing but great things to say about Payton, and it sounds as if he may be planning a conversation with the commissioner.
Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo! Sports made an interesting connection between the bounty system and Goodell's discipline of Payton. The main goal of the bounty system was to know the opposing teams' stars out of the game. Goodell has essentially knocked a star coach out for the season, although it doesn't appear as if he'll get any extra compensation.
Another Twitter user compared Payton's situation to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's "Spy Gate" scandal a couple years ago. The Pats were docked a first-round pick, but Belichick went largely unpunished despite New England breaking the rules.
Payton's suspension this season will cost him $8 million, so the NFL has certainly hit him where it hurts. This Twitter user made note of the fact that Payton's suspension comes on the heels of the coach suffering a torn ACL in a freak sideline accident. The injury is a bit ironic knowing what we do now.
While Payton is banned from any contact with the team next season, you have to wonder if he will try to find ways to circumvent that. Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine once put on a disguise and sat in the dugout after being tossed from a game while managing the New York Mets. This person suggests that Valentine and Payton should run some ideas by each other.
Things haven't been all fun and games on Twitter, though, as NFL Network's Jason La Canfora released the names of some of the quarterbacks that were reportedly targeted by the bounty system, according to the investigation.
La Canfora also spoke with Goodell and got his perspective on the suspension. As previously mentioned. Williams initially deceived investigators, so Goodell felt he had been lied to. He also wanted to make a statement about player safety.
There are so many moving parts and different things to talk about with regards to this case and the suspension of Payton that it is unlikely the conversation will die down any time soon. Some think the punishment is excessive while others find it fair, but Goodell most definitely got his point across.
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