Sean Payton and the Case of the Eventual Reduced Suspension

RJ LuchenbillCorrespondent IIIMarch 31, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 07:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints walks of the field after defeating the Detroit Lions by a score of 45-28at Mercedes-Benz Superdome during their 2012 NFC Wild Card Playoff game on January 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Head coach of the New Orleans Saints, Sean Payton, is going to file an appeal to his one-year suspension handed down by commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goddell. 

For those who have been living under a rock for the past week, defensive coordinator Greg "the hammer" Williams initiated a bounty program to where players would be financially compensated for knocking out offensive players from the other team.

The NFL found out and levied severe and justified penalties.

Roger Goodell has suspended coach Sean Payton for a year, general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight games of the 2012 season, assistant head coach Joe Vitt for the first six games and banned former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely.

Members of the Saints' coaching staff weren't the only ones to be punished.

He has also hit the Saints franchise with a $500,000 fine and took away their second-round draft picks for 2012 and 2013.

Goddell says that between 22 and 27 players on the team were involved with these nefarious bounties and will have devastating consequences handed down very soon. 

Now that we have an understanding on what happened and the punishments that resulted, it's time to analyze this appeal and whether it's realistic to say if the suspension will be reduced. 

One fact that won't help Payton is that coaches and players apparently lied to investigators back in 2010 when the NFL questioned him about the bounty initiative. 

"Our security department interviewed numerous players and other individuals," Goodell said. "At the time, those interviewed denied that any such program existed and the player that made the allegation retracted his earlier assertions. As a result, the allegations could not be proven. We recently received significant and credible new information and the investigation was re-opened during the latter part of the 2011 season."

Whenever a football player is suspended or charged a hefty fine by the NFL, many times that individual will appeal the league's decision. 

From there, both parties will enlist the help of an arbitrator and he will make a final determination on what the penalty, if any, should be. 

Under very rare circumstances, the arbitrator will either uphold the league's decision or waive the fines and penalties altogether. 

Most of the time, arbitration is compromisenothing more. He will reduce fines and penalties so both parties are at least somewhat satisfied with the final outcome.

Whether or not you believe Sean Payton is completely innocent or the equivalent of Adolf Hitler, it's irrelevant to the arbitrator.

In the end, expect the suspension to be diminished. You may wonder how much time will be cut. Only time will tell.