With the game of football or any sport comes injuries, however when those injuries are forced purposely by the opposing team or player then that’s when it becomes a problem. The NFL has been mostly known for this issue as it’s such a common occurrence that the NFL has addressed the issue with what’s known as the “bounty rule.”
Now while there have been many past cases or rumors of teams doing or putting out bounties, news today broke that not only the New Orleans Saints were doing it but between 22 out and 27 defensive players as well as at least one assistant coach was apart of the Saints bounty program.
Reports say that the program was maintained by an assistant coach that was in charge of a bounty pool that had up to $50,000 in it.
Knockouts were worth $1,500 and cart-offs were worth $1,000. Those payments were doubled, sometimes tripled for playoff games. Reports also say that some of the opposing players that were targeted were quarterbacks Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.
“In the week of the NFC Championship Game,” Adam Schefter said on NFL Live Friday, “Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma put $10,000 in cash on a table and said ‘this goes to the guy that knocks out Brett Favre.’” Those weren’t Vilma’s exact words, but they were similar to those, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said.
Vilma or any other player from the Saints Organization has yet to respond.
However NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell did in a statement saying, “The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Goodell said “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.”
“It is our responsibility to protect player safety and the integrity of our game, and this type of conduct will not be tolerated. We have made significant progress in changing the culture with respect to player safety and we are not going to relent. We have more work to do and we will do it.”
The Saints have yet to suffer any consequences or penalties as this is all just speculation and rumors at this point though it doesn’t look good as it seems true as there was a league release statement. However if this is true, the Saints could face some serious penalties such as, loss of draft picks, suspensions, and definitely huge money fines.
The league release also mentioned that Saints head coach, Sean Payton was not involved in the bounty program, though he was aware and as we know he didn’t do anything to try and stop it.