NFL upholds suspensions for Saints Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis, Joe Vitt

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Sean Payton had his appeal denied by the NFL. (Getty Images)

The NFL upheld the bounty-related suspensions -- "after careful consideration" -- for the Saints Sean Payton, Mickey Loomis and Joe Vitt, the league announced Monday.

Payton's suspension will begin on April 16, the league announced, while the suspensions for Loomis (eight games) and Vitt (six games) will begin immediately following the conclusion of the NFL's preseason.

"The club and the individuals will be expected to cooperate in any further proceedings and to assist in the development and implementation of programs to instruct players and coaches at all levels on principles of player safety, fair play, and sportsmanship," the league said in a statement.

Saints Bounty Scandal

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he would "consider mitigating the financial penalties" on the various individuals involved "if they embrace the opportunity" to assist in those programs.

Additionally, the league said it would consider "modifying the forfeiture" of the 2013 second-round pick that the Saints were initially docked by the league.

It's worth noting that the suspensions for Payton, Loomis and Vitt do not automatically just "end" -- Goodell "will review the status" for all three and "determine their eligibility for reinstatement."

That the Saints lost their appeal isn't particularly surprising. After all, they appealed to Roger Goodell, who actually decided on the original punishment himself. It was always unlikely that Goodell would randomly change his mind in such a short amount of time.

It became even more unlikely that Goodell would change his mind when audio of Gregg Williams' pre-game speech against the 49ers during the 2011 playoffs emerged on the same day the Saints appealed.

That audio caused a big stir, as it featured Williams telling members of his defense to specifically target certain injuries on specific San Francisco players. It also caused a stir because the filmmaker who released the audio, Sean Pamphilon, did so much to the surprise of the Saints and former Saints player Steve Gleason. (Pamphilon claims he has the right to release the audio, however.)

There was a belief that the Saints would use the "rogue coach" excuse to explain why Williams continued to employ a bounty program during the organization. But it never seemed likely Goodell would bite on that.

Clearly, he didn't.
 
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