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If you have been watching anything about the NFL during the offseason, more than likely you have come across something about the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal.
Bounty-gate, as it's referred to, began when the NFL started investigating the Saints during the 2009-'10 playoffs because of alleged accusations that Saints players were deliberately attempting to hurt other players.
The end result of Bounty-gate would leave the Saints and a lot of other people speechless.
On March 2, 2012, the NFL would announce that it had evidence that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams had created a program during the 2009 season in which Saints players would be paid bonuses for successfully hurting other players. The money would come from Williams himself, as well as other Saints players. The full NFL statement can be read here.
With the lid blown off, the next step of the bounty scandal would happen over the next few months. From March to May, we saw Saints players and staff suspended.
As far as staff members go, Gregg Williams, who left the Saints for a coaching position on the Rams staff, was suspended indefinitely, and Sean Payton will be suspended for the entire 2012 season.
Players who were found to be involved in the bounty scandal would also be suspended. Jonathan Vilma would receive the biggest suspension, which will take Vilma out of action for the entire 2012 season. Anthony Hargrove, now on the Packers, Will Smith and Scott Fajita, now on the Browns, would also receive suspensions.
The Saints would be fined $500,000 and would also lose draft picks in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, on top of the suspensions handed out.
Without a doubt, the bounty scandal is the biggest story of the NFL offseason so far. Not only has it clearly impacted the Saints, it has also impacted other teams. The NFL and commissioner Roger Gooddell have made it clear that any action like Bounty-gate will not be tolerated.
What offseason stories would make your list? Comment below and share your opinion.