Will Smith, 3 Others Suspended For Saints’ Bounty Program
The NFL handed down four player suspensions on Wednesday for the, now notorious, Saints bounty program.
Thomas R. Proctor-grad, and New Orleans defensive co-captain, Will Smith has been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season.
Co-captain, Jonathon Vilma received the harshest punishment – all of 2012, plus playoffs. Anthony Hargrove, now in Green Bay, was hit with eight games, and Scott Fujita, now in Cleveland, got three.
All of the suspensions are without pay. Smith, Hargrove and Fujita are eligible for pre- and postseason “activities”, according to ESPN.com.
The report also says the players will appeal:
All four player suspensions will be appealed, according to an NFL source, who told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, “get ready for a massive multiple legal battle over this on several fronts.”
Each of the four suspended players declined the chance to meet with the NFL over its findings, and also declined to send someone to argue on their behalf, league sources told Schefter. As one NFL source said, “They took the Fifth Amendment.”
The NFL Players Association released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying it still hasn’t received “any detailed or specific evidence from the league of these specific players’ involvement in an alleged pay-to-injure program.”
“We have made it clear that punishment without evidence is not fair. We have spoken with our players and their representatives and we will vigorously protect and pursue all options on their behalf,” the NFLPA said.
League sources told Schefter that the NFLPA never recommended any discipline in the case.
The players’ appeals will be heard by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Saints coach Sean Payton was previously banned for a full season, effective April 1, for his role in the bounties. GM Mickey Loomis was suspended eight games, and the team fined $500,000. And, former defensive coordinator Greg Williams has been banished, indefinitely, from the NFL.