Sean Payton Suspension: Why Saints Coach Deserved Harsh Punishment from Goodell

T.J. McaloonContributorMarch 22, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints watches his team before they take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

As the head coach, Sean Payton is the leader of the New Orleans Saints. He is responsible for everything that happens with the Saints on and off the field. That is why he deserved the harsh punishment that was handed down to him by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. 

However, Payton wasn’t the only one who felt the wrath of the commissioner. 


Coach Sean Payton was suspended for a full season without pay, beginning April 1, and general manager Mickey Loomis faces an 8-game suspension when the 2012 season begins, Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

In addition, assistant head coach and linebackers coach Joe Vitt was suspended for 6 games without pay, meaning the Saints coaching staff will be in shambles for the upcoming campaign.

Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the Rams, faces what Goodell labeled an "indefinite suspension," but it will last at least one full year because the commissioner said he will not review Williams' case until after the 2012 season.

The Saints were also stripped of second round draft picks this year and next, which means New Orleans will not have a selection in the 2012 draft until the third round. Goodell also fined the organization $500,000.

The article goes on with a statement from the NFL commissioner about the severity of his ruling on the Saints staff saying:

We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game. We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised.

Goodell has made it a point, as NFL commissioner, to make the game safer for the men who play it. He’s cracked down on hits to the head by giving those players who target another players' heads multiple-game suspensions or fining them a large sum of money. 

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during the Ohana Day  AFC practice for the 2007 Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii on February 9, 2007.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

He had to come down on the Saints this way so that it would send a message to the rest of the NFL that actions like this will not be tolerated. 

Payton had the chance to put an end to these bounties, but in the end decided to turn a blind eye as to what was going on in his locker room. He knew what was going on was wrong, and by not doing so he deserves the yearlong suspension without pay. 

He will come back to the Saints at the start of the 2013 season and will be wiser for the mistakes he made in the past. 

However, he is now and forever will be tied to one of the worst scandals to hit the NFL. The head coach is the person  responsible for how the team acts on and off the field. Because of that, he deserves whatever punishment Commissioner Goodell bestowed to him.