Saints continued lies, player punishment pending

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained some of the thinking behind the suspensions, fines and loss of draft picks levied against the Saints for their bounty system during the past three seasons.

Speaking from the annual owners meetings in Palm Beach Fla., Goodell called the non-contract bonuses paid for harming opponents a "violation of a very serious rule."

"It's not acceptable to hide the issues, continue to violate NFL policy, put our players at risk. That's going to be dealt with very harshly," he said.

Goodell says members of the Saints organization continued lying to NFL investigators as late as March.

"They were not forthright with what was happening and that continued during our investigation during the past couple weeks," Goodell said.

He added that coach Sean Payton (suspended for a year beginning April 1) and others suspended had the opportunity to appeal their bans before April 2, that if they chose to do so, they would be allowed to continue their duties until an "expedited" decision was reached.

Goodell said Saints owner Tom Benson, whose team was fined $500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks, addressed team representatives from around the league Monday.

"He made it very clear that this is not what he's about, and he will take steps to make sure that it never happens again," Goodell said of Benson's comments.

The punishment of Payton, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, GM Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt came last week. Goodell says punishments for any of the 22-27 players involved would not be issued before he has a chance to meet with leaders of the players association.

"I would like to do it as soon as reasonable," Goodell said. "We would like to get a recommendation from the players and I expect to talk to them before the end of the week."

This article was written by Robert Klemko and appeared in USA Today.

Posted by Necesitamos Mas Football on 17:45. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

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