NEW ORLEANS - AUGUST 21: Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints talks with the defence against the Houston Texans at the Louisiana Superdome on August 21 2010 in New Orleans Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The NFL handed down player discipline in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal on Wednesday morning. Four players received suspensions ranging from three games to the entire 2012 season. The four players being disciplined are: Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith, and Jonathan Vilma.
Vilma got hit the hardest, with a full season suspension without pay. Vilma, a team captain, served as Gregg Williams' chief lieutenant in administering the program, his Eichmann. The story of Vilma putting $10,000 on a table as a reward for taking out Brett Favre was one of the more lasting images found in the report.
Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, is out for eight games. Hargrove turned in a signed confession to the league acknowledging his participation in the program. Will Smith is out four games for his participation in the program. The NFL release issued today said that Smith pledged money for "cart-off" hits. Fujita got a three-game suspension, for pledging money to the program.
Said Goodell in the league's statement:
"In assessing player discipline," Commissioner Goodell said, "I focused on players who were in leadership positions at the Saints; contributed a particularly large sum of money toward the program; specifically contributed to a bounty on an opposing player; demonstrated a clear intent to participate in a program that potentially injured opposing players; sought rewards for doing so; and/or obstructed the 2010 investigation."
Now, we'll wait to hear from the NFLPA.
Players have three days to appeal these suspensions. Because the punishment falls under the umbrella of "conduct detrimental to the NFL," Goodell would hear the appeals.