National Football League Controversies - Coaching Controversies - New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal

New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal

In 2012, the New Orleans Saints were discovered to have run a "slush fund" under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, that paid out bonuses, called "bounties", to purposely injure offensive players that the Saints were playing against. The system was known to have operated during Williams's time in Buffalo and Washington. Rumors started in 2009 during the Saints Super Bowl XLIV run in the 2009 NFC Championship game against the Vikings, where the Saints defense was allegedly trying to hurt Viking quarterback Brett Favre. Other than the Vikings, the Saints also allegedly targeted Bears and Carolina Panthers players, and the program became even more notorious in the 2012 NFL Divisional Playoff Game against the San Francisco 49ers, when filmmaker Sean Pamphilon released audio tapes of Williams telling his players to injure a select group of 49ers, with one of them being running back Kendall Hunter, and to knock him out, as well as going after Kyle Williams because of his past history of concussions. Williams also told them to injure Vernon Davis' ankles and tear wide receiver Michael Crabtree's ACL. According to Pamphilon, Williams also appeared to put a bounty on quarterback Alex Smith after he told his men to hit Smith in the chin, "then he rubs his thumb against his index and middle fingers -- the cash sign -- and says, I got the first one. I got the first one. Go get it. Go lay that motherfucker out."

Ultimately, Goodell handed down one of the harshest penalties in league history, by suspending Williams indefinitely, head coach Sean Payton for the rest of the 2012 season, interim head coach Joe Vitt for the first 6 games, and general manager Mickey Loomis for 8 games. Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma was also suspended for the season, as well as defensive linemen Anthony Hargrove (now with Green Bay) and Will Smith for 8 and 4 games, respectively. Former Saints and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was also suspended for 3 games. The player's suspensions were later thrown out on appeal.

Read more about this topic:  National Football League Controversies, Coaching Controversies

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