Well, today was the day. Commishoner Roger Goodell brought down the hammer for the bounty scandal.
The official release from NFL.com is below, and all of these punishments seem fair, when thinking about how Goodell goes about punishing people. He doesn't take crap, that is for sure, and this is just another example.
New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been suspended for the 2012 season, as the NFL handed down its player discipline Wednesday for the Saints' pay-for-performance "bounty" scandal.
Three other players -- Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith -- in addition to Vilma were notified that they have been suspended without pay for conduct detrimental to the NFL as a result of their leadership roles in the "bounty" program that endangered player safety over three seasons from 2009-2011.
"It is the obligation of everyone, including the players on the field, to ensure that rules designed to promote player safety, fair play, and the integrity of the game are adhered to and effectively and consistently enforced," Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Respect for the men that play the game starts with the way players conduct themselves with each other on the field."
The discipline breaks down, per a league release, as follows:
• Linebacker Jonathan Vilma of the Saints is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective immediately per league policy for season-long suspensions.
• Linebacker Scott Fujita (now with the Cleveland Browns) is suspended without pay for the first three games.
• Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers) is suspended without pay for the first eight games.
• Will Smith of the Saints is suspended without pay for the first four games.
"In assessing player discipline," Goodell said, "I focused on players who were in leadership positions at the Saints; contributed a particularly large sum of money toward the program; specifically contributed to a bounty on an opposing player; demonstrated a clear intent to participate in a program that potentially injured opposing players; sought rewards for doing so; and/or obstructed the 2010 investigation."
"No bounty program can exist without active player participation," Goodell added. "The evidence clearly showed that the players being held accountable today willingly and enthusiastically embraced the bounty program. Players put the vast majority of the money into this program and they share responsibility for playing by the rules and protecting each other within those rules."
Now, it was reported that Vilma expected a suspension from two to eight games. Mr. Vilma, do you know who you are messing with?
This sends a big message league wide that there is no tolerance for any activity that results in a negative outlook towards the NFL. Now, the Saints, players, coaches and all, know first hand.