Saints bounty program specifically targeted Cam Newton, Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner
|03.21.12 at 7:00 pm ET|
The NFL released more details about the inner workings of the Saints bounty system on Wednesday, revealing that the league’s investigation found New Orleans specifically targeted quarterback Cam Newton in addition to Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner.
Rodgers, Favre and Warner were all identified as specific targets when the original announcement of the league’s findings was made March 2, but Newton is a new addition to the list of targeted players.
As a result of the investigation, multiple penalties were levied against the Saints, including an indefinite suspension for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, a one-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton and a six-game suspension for assistant head coach Joe Vitt.
According to the release, Williams and Vitt not only ran a bounty program; they admitted to intentionally misleading NFL investigators in 2010 and continuing to run the program.
Wednesday’s release from the NFL also revealed just how much Payton knew about the program while it was operating. According to the investigation, Payton received an email before the team’s opener in 2011 that stated “PS Greg Williams put me down for $5000 on Rogers(sic).” The release states that when asked about the email, Payton said it referred to a bounty on Rodgers. That statement contradicts Payton’s comments from earlier this year in which he claimed he did not know about a bounty program within his team.
The release also states that Payton was made aware of the league’s bounty investigation in early 2010. Payton said he told Williams and Vitt to “make sure our ducks are in a row” ahead of an interview with league investigators. The release states that Payton said he never asked the coaches what happened in their interviews, did not ask if a bounty program was in place and did not give any instructions to discontinue the bounty program.
The report says general manager Mickey Loomis told Payton in January 2012 that the league reopened the investigation, and Payton “took no action to ensure that any bounty program was discontinued.”
The league maintained in the release that Saints ownership remained ignorant of the bounty program.
“There is no evidence that Saints ownership had any knowledge of the pay-for-performance or bounty program. There is no evidence that any club funds were used for the program. Ownership made clear that it disapproved of the program, gave prompt and clear direction that it stop, and gave full and immediate cooperation to league investigators.”
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