NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the suspensions of New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, head coach Sean Payton and assistant head coach Joe Vitt for their involvement in the team’s violation of the league’s anti-bounty rule on Monday.
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who orchestrated the program and was suspended indefinitely, did not appeal his punishment. The league concluded that the team endangered player safety over a three-year period.
Going forward, the Saints, Loomis, Payton and Vitt 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.
If they cooperate, Goodell said he would consider mitigating the financial penalties on the individuals. In the case of the team, the commissioner would consider whether there are factors that would support modifying the forfeiture of the team’s 2013 second-round draft choice.
Payton’s suspension without pay for the 2012 NFL season will begin on April 16.
The suspensions without pay of Loomis for eight games and Vitt for six games will begin at the end of the preseason.
At the conclusion of their suspensions, the commissioner will review the status of each of the individuals to determine their eligibility for reinstatement.
Payton has been the head coach of the Saints since 2006 and has posted a 96-62 record, won three NFC South titles and guided the Saints to victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
During his tenure with the Saints, Payton holds a 10-2 mark over the Falcons.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog