NFL Suspends Four Players, One For Full Season, Over Saints' Bounties
Four NFL players tied to the so-called bountygate have now been hit with suspensions by the league. They were part of a scheme in which a New Orleans Saints coach created a bounty system for hits that knocked opponents out of games.
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma will miss the entire 2012 season, NFL.com reports. As MSNBC reminds us, "Vilma reportedly put $10,000 cash on the table in the team's meeting room and said the cash would go to anyone who could knock Brett Favre out of the NFC Championship Game in January of 2010."
Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove has been suspended eight games. Defensive lineman Will Smith will sit out four games. Linebacker Scott Fujita, who is now with the Cleveland Browns, will miss three games.
All four are suspended without pay. The bounty program, led by then-Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, stretched over three seasons from 2009 through 2011.
Williams, who left the Saints after last season to join the coaching staff of the St. Louis Rams, has been banned from the league indefinitely. Head coach Sean Payton has been suspended for the 2012 season.