Four NFL players are appealing their punishments issued by the league after they were found to be a part of a bounty program. Brian Russell NFL explains the process happening.
The four NFL players who were implicated in a bounty program while playing for the New Orleans Saints are filing an appeal with the league claiming that Commissioner Roger Goodell cannot be impartial in his judgment of the controversy. In total, eight people were suspended from the 2012 football season, four players and four coaches and management including Saints head coach Sean Payton. The four players; Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita, were suspended for varying lengths of time. Hargrove, Smith, and Fujita were suspended for only a few games, whereas Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season.
The bounty program, a bonus incentive enacted by Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, paid bonuses to the four players for any time they made a hit on a selected opposing player that would injure or remove the player from the game. None of the hits intended on targets were illegal and were never judged by the on-field referees. Many players from the Saints and other teams have come out and said that the bounties were an assumed part of the game. While they were fine with rewarding good hits during the game, it was mentioned that it was an unwritten code that no player be rewarded for injuring an opposing player.
Brian Williams NFL says the punishments for the four players implicated in the scandal were appealed previously in September at the start of the regular season. The suspensions were revoked for a time, allowing the accused to play on their teams, but we then reinstated a few weeks later. This meant that the multi-game suspensions were upheld for Hargrove, Smith and Fujita. Vilma was again suspended for the entirety of the season. All four players are now appealing the judgment and Jonathan Vilma expects to play for the Saints in a couple of weeks.
Head coach Sean Payton has not been allowed contact with anyone from the NFL during his suspension, with the exception of being allowed to watch the October 7 game where quarterback Drew Brees broke the league record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, a record that Brian Russell NFL and others were excited to witness. Payton was not a direct player in the bounty scandal, but was accused of covering up the issue and not reporting it to management. He will return to being head coach at the beginning of the 2013 season.
Brian Russell NFL is a former professional football player and businessman. His performance in the safety position helped the Houston Texans secure their first winning season in franchise history in 2010.