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Roger Goodell’s hammer fell on the New Orleans Saints, and deservingly so.
Still, I can’t help but think the punishments were not severe enough.
On paper it looks damaging. Saints head coach Sean Payton suspended without pay for one full year, effective on April 1st. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, know with the Rams, suspended indefinitely. Saints assistant Joe Vitt suspended six games without pay and New Orleans general manager suspended eight games without pay.
I’m fine with all of that, but the NFL missed a chance to really punish New Orleans.
The Saints organization was fined $500,000 and will forfeit second round picks in 2012 and 2013.
Two second round picks? That’s it?
How does that equal the punishment handed out to the coaches?
This is a team that let a bounty program run wild throughout all levels of the organization. In fact, it extended outside of the halls in New Orleans. Michael Ornstein, the same man who paid Reggie Bush at USC, the same man who tried to defraud the NFL, contributed to the bounty.
Worst of all, the Saints lied to the NFL back in 2010, before the investigation started.
Some might see these punishments as acceptable, but not me.
The Saints tried to alter the careers of many quarterbacks and make a profit doing so. It could be argued that Brett Favre, Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning lost the most because of the bounty program in New Orleans.
Severely suspending the individuals was fine, but the NFL and Goodell should have come down harder on the organization as a whole. So shouldn’t that include stronger penalties?
After all, Saints owner Tom Benson could just fire everyone involved, right?
New Orleans won a Super Bowl by playing the game dirty. Two draft picks and a $500k fine does not fit the crime. The Saints organization should have been hit just has hard as the individuals in this case.