NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 23: Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints calls a defensive play during a game against the Indianapolis Colts being held at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 23, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Colts 62-7. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Saints Bounty Scandal: Roger Goodell Presents Damning Evidence To Media

The New Orleans Saints have been dealing with Bounty Gate for months now, but Monday afternoon, Roger Goodell released to a select number of media members some pretty damning evidence.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Roger Goodell Lauded By Senator Dick Durbin For Response To Player Safety

As the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal unfolds, public figures will continue to take sides with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or with the players. As for Goodell’s side, he got a strong public endorsement from a member of Congress when Illinois Senator Richard Durbin decided to weigh in.

The Senator met with Goodell yesterday to discuss player safety in the NFL and also throughout youth football programs. It’s not uncommon at moments like this for some political posturing to take place, and Durbin is undoubtedly doing some of that here. His official statement on Goodell:

"Unlike many issues that come before us, this issue was discovered by the NFL. The investigation was initiated by the NFL. And the actions that were taken against coaches and players was taken by the NFL. There was no denial here…What I hear from them is a good-faith effort to acknowledge what happened and deal with it. The NFL has taken the issue of bounties in professional football seriously and has been open and willing to take additional steps to protect player safety and football’s integrity. They aggressively pursued the information they were given."

A full list of the action plan proposed by Goodell in the meeting can be found here.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Anthony Hargrove Denies It Is His Voice In Audio Recording

The bounty scandal surrounding the New Orleans Saints is going to get worse before it gets better. With the suspended players in the midst of appeal hearings, the NFL released some new, potentially explosive evidence against the Saints on Monday.

One of the pieces of evidence presented by the NFL is an audio recording of suspended defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove allegedly asking for bounty money. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported on Tuesday that Hargrove denies the voice on the recording is his.

The end of the road in this bounty case is not even in sight as of yet. It is likely that the legal battles over the suspensions and the supposed evidence against the players and coaches is only going to get uglier and more bitter as time wears on.

Read more on the Saints Bounty Scandal at our StoryStream and be sure to check out the SB Nation NFL hub page for additional news and analysis.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Roger Goodell Releases 'Evidence' To Media

After hearing appeals of the four players suspended in connection with the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, the NFL brought in 12 reporters, including Peter King of SI.com, Mike Freeman of CBS Sports and Bob Glauber of Newsday.com to view evidence collected against the Saints. According to several media reports, what the league presented was "explosive, compelling, and quite damning."

"First, [a] good chunk of the NFL's evidence came from Saints own computer system," Freeman wrote on Twitter. "[Former Saints defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams was clearly the biggest source for NFL but [there's] no question [the] league has many other sources. Owner [Tom] Benson was cooperative with the league granting investigators access to Saints computer system. Saints kept bounty info on [their] computer system. Williams told investigators he was 'rolling the dice with player safety and someone could have been maimed.' Saints used Dog the Bounty Hunter as motivation."

This came just after Scott Fujita and Jonathan Vilma proclaimed their innocence earlier in the day, and lawyers ripped the league for not providing evidence for the punishments indicted.

Here is what Peter King tweeted:

"NFL just showed reporters evidence in Saints case, incl[uding] allegation of $35k bounty, not just $10k, to knock Favre out of '09 NFC title game. NFL also showed evidence on ledger that S Roman Harper once was due $1000 for knocking NYG RB Brandon Jacobs from a game. The $35k bounty on Favre, the league claims, included a $5000 pledge from current interim Saints coach Joe Vitt.

"The NFL's charges are explosive, compelling," King continued. "Twelve reporters just heard the league's evidence. To clarify, the 12 reporters were told they were getting the same presentation the players got earlier in the afternoon."

Read more on the Saints bounty scandal at SB Nation Atlanta.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Monday Appeals Last Only An Hour

The four suspended players from the New Orleans Saints' infamous "bounty" scandal, along with their attorneys, left Monday's appeal with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with things still left unsettled and unresolved in what has become quite the cantankerous series of events.

It's being reported at NFL.com that Peter Ginsberg, the lawyer for suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, said after a few opening remarks and challenges, Goodell asked to adjourn the meeting and reconvene Monday at 1:45 p.m. ET. Vilma, currently suspended for the entire 2012 season, had no plans of returning.

The meeting lasted only one hour before all four players - Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith - were gone.

These are some comments from Ginsberg following the meeting:

"There were two fundamental issues that came to the forefront today. One is a question on how we ended up in a place, a proceeding where the commissioner so unilaterally in a Draconian fashion believes he can take over control of a proceeding like this, putting aside the how we got here...

"Even with regard to the fundamental rules, he cannot abide by them."

As it pertains to the fundamental rules of the proceedings Ginsberg is referring to, that's about the NFL not providing documents 72 hours before Monday's appeal, he said.

Check out the full video of that interview right here.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Arbitrator Rules In Favor of NFL

While the full details have yet to be released, it appears that arbitrator Steve Burbank has ruled in favor of the league in the New Orleans Saints bounty case.

The four players suspended in the bounty case are Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove.

Separate from this is a grievance filed before arbitrator Shyam Das that questions whether the NFL can suspend players for actions that took place before the new CBA was signed.

For more on the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, check out SB Nation's NFL page, The Falcoholic and Canal Street Chronicles.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Jonathan Vilma Files Lawsuit Against Roger Goodell

New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who was come down on harshly by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell when he was suspended for the entire 2012 season without pay for his part in the teams bounty scandal, has decided to bring a lawsuit against Goodell for defamation of character.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted this earlier:

Goodell singled out Vilma as being the leader of the alleged bounty scandal and Vilma has since maintained his innocence. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, like Vilma, was also suspended for the year without pay.

The NFL Players Union headed by Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is appealing the suspensions to Vilma, Anthony Hargrove (eight games), Will Smith (four games) and Scott Fujita (three games).

For more on the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, check out SB Nation's NFL page, The Falcoholic and Canal Street Chronicles.

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The NFL Sets Grievance Hearings For Saints On May 16 And May 30

Jonathan Vilma's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, says that the two grievances for the bounty investigation of four New Orleans Saints players filed earlier this month will be heard on May 16 and May 30 by the National Football League.

Saints players including Vilma, defensive end Will Smith, Green Bay Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita will have their first hearing focusing on the argument within the CBA preventing the league from acting against players for conduct issues prior to August 4, 2011. There is also a question whether appeals should be heard by Commissioner Roger Goddell versus Tod Cottrell and/or Art Shell, who are compensated by the league and the NFLPA.

The hearing on May 30 revolves around the compensation paid to players by players (and others) in violation of the salary cap. The thought is that Special Master Stephen Burbank should resolve the issue versus the commissioner, plus the players have yet to be shown prove that money was actually exchanged.

Will the NFL show their hand, and provide the so-called evidence that they've amassed? Or is this just a push to punish a team that put the discussion of bounties on the national stage?

For more on the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, check out SB Nation's NFL page, The Falcoholic and Canal Street Chronicles.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Four Suspended Players Appeal

To no one's surprise, the four current or former New Orleans Saints players suspended by the NFL for their role in the bounty scandal have appealed.

Pro Football Talk first reported that Jonathan Vilma had appealed his suspension. ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed the appeals of the other three players — Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita.

Vilma was handed the toughest penalty, bring suspended for one year. Hargrove was suspended for eight games, Smith for four games and Fujita for three games. The players are arguing that commissioner Roger Goodell does not have the authority alone to suspended them. The players union will argue their case.

For more on the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, check out SB Nation's NFL page, The Falcoholic and Canal Street Chronicles.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: NFL Releases Statement On NFLPA Greivances

The NFLPA came out strong against the suspensions of the four players implicated in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal and now the league has released its response.

According to the statement, the grievances filed by the players do not challenge the facts or reasonableness of the punishment handed down. Read it here:

On May 2, Commissioner Goodell suspended four current or former New Orleans Saints players for conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL based on their participation in the pay-for-performance/bounty program that operated during the 2009-2011 seasons.

Last night, the NFLPA initiated two arbitration proceedings challenging the suspensions. The proceedings do not challenge the underlying facts, which were first shared with the union more than two months ago after being obtained from Saints executives, coaches, players, and others. The proceedings also do not challenge the reasonableness of the discipline imposed by the commissioner.

In one proceeding, the union seeks immunity for the four suspended players, a position it never advanced during months of discussion on this matter. In the other, the union argues that someone other than the commissioner should have imposed the discipline.

We expect that the arbitrators will 1) reject the union's efforts to protect players from accountability for prohibited and dangerous conduct directed against other players and 2) uphold the disciplinary process that was so carefully negotiated in the Collective Bargaining less than a year ago.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Details Emerge On Specific Charges Against Players

Much has been made about the severity and length of the players suspended over the New Orleans Saints' "Bounty Gate," but little has been discussed in the way of what the league actually had on each player. The National Football Post breaks down the specific "charges" the NFL levied against each player, which sheds some light on the reasoning for their punishments:

First, the biggest name in the scandal, linebacker Jonathan Vilma:

The NFL says Vilma "assisted Williams in establishing and funding the program. Multiple independent sources also confirmed that Vilma offered a specific bounty -- $10,000 in cash – to any player who knocked Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner out of the 2009 Divisional Playoff Game and later pledged the same amount to anyone who knocked Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship Game."

Scott Fujita, a former Saint now playing for the Browns:

The league cites that Fujita, who has been suspended for three games, "pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL Playoffs when he played for the Saints. The pool to which he pledged paid large cash rewards for "cart-offs" and "knockouts," plays during which an opposing player was injured."

Anthony Hargrove, also a former Saint:

...actively participated in the program while a member of the Saints" and "submitted a signed declaration to the league that established not only the existence of the program at the Saints, but also that he knew about and participated in it." Per the league, Hargrive "actively obstructed" the investigation in 2010 by being untruthful.

Saints' defensive end Will Smith, whose four-game suspension is considered to be a bigger hit than Vilma's full season:

... is accused of assisting "Gregg Williams in establishing and funding the program during a period in which he was a captain and leader of the defensive unit. Multiple independent sources also confirmed that Smith pledged significant sums to the program pool for "cart-offs" and "knockouts" of opposing players."

For more on the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, check out SB Nation's NFL page, The Falcoholic and Canal Street Chronicles.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Johnathan Vilma And Will Smith Release Statements Regarding Suspensions

Roger Goodell came down harshly on the New Orleans Saints players involved in the three-year bounty system that was set up by Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams and allegedly OK'd by Head Coach Sean Payton.

Like Payton, linebacker Jonathan Vilma will be suspended for the entire 2012 season without pay (effective immediately) and defensive end Will Smith will have to sit out the Saints first four games. Both players released statements that, unsurprisingly, announced displeasure with the Commissioners decision.

Johnathan Vilma had this to say about the suspension:

I am shocked and extremely disappointed by the NFL's decision to suspend me for the 2012 season. Commissioner Roger Goodell has refused to share any of the supposed evidence he claims supports this unprecedented punishment.

Will Smith released this statement:

I have never in my career, nor as a Captain asked others, to intentionally target and hurt specific opposing players. I was in no way involved in establishing or assisting Gregg Williams with implementing a bounty program. The accusations made against me are completely and one-hundred percent false, and I plan to appeal the decision along with the help of the NFL Players Association.

Stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta for more information on "Bountygate" while Canal Street Chronicles has all the reaction from New Orleans.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: NFLPA Comes Out Strongly Against Suspensions, Vows Appeal

After months of waiting, Roger Goodell's decision on player suspensions as a part of the "Bountygate" scandal has finally come down, and the NFLPA is not happy about it.

In a statement to the press Tuesday, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith criticized the lack of evidence the NFL cited to make its decision and vowed to help the four suspended players appeal the ruling:

"After seeing the NFL's decision letters, the NFLPA has still not 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."

While the appeals process would normally go through Goodell, the players are likely to mount a massive legal battle that may include the federal courts.

Stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta for more information on "Bountygate" while Canal Street Chronicles has all the reaction from New Orleans.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Jonathan Vilma Suspended For Entire Season

The other shoe has finally dropped in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal, with four players receiving the brunt of the punishment from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell:

Because Vilma's suspension is season-long, he has to begin serving it immediately and is banned from participating in the Saints OTA programs. All four players will likely appeal.

Vilma and Smith are the only two still with New Orleans, as both players have been cornerstones of the team's defense for years. Anthony Hargrove, meanwhile, is now a member of the Green Bay Packers while Scott Fujita is with the Cleveland Browns.

The punishment, while harsh, will at least allow the Saints to begin to move on from this disastrous off-season, as Goodell's decision had been hanging over the team for months.

Stay tuned to SB Nation Atlanta for more information on "Bountygate" while Canal Street Chronicles has all the reaction from New Orleans.

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Saints GM Eavesdropped On Opposing Coaches, According To Report

Things have officially gone from bad to worse in New Orleans, as a new report from ESPN's "Outside The Lines" states that Saints general manager Mickey Loomis has employed a device in his Superdome suite for three seasons that enabled him to secretly listen in to conversations between visiting coaches during games.

The report indicates that a listening device was originally installed in the general mangager suite prior to Loomis' arrival in New Orleans, but was used by previous general manager Randy Mueller solely as a means to communicate with the Saints coaching staff, without any access to opposing coaches.

A spokesperson from the Saints denied the report about Loomis, saying, "This is 1,000 percent false. This is 1,000 percent inaccurate."

Given what has transpired this offseason, these allegations-true or false-are not welcomed news to the Saints organization. The NFL was not previously aware of the accusations, and it is unclear how the league will address this issue.

We can only be sure that it will take them very seriously, and further punishment could follow should the league corroborate the findings.

For more on the Saints, head to Canal Street Chronicles, and for more updates on the bounty scandal, follow SB Nation Atlanta's StoryStream.

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Saints Bounty Scandal Update: Saints Name Joe Vitt Interm Head Coach

According to NFL.com's Jason La Canfora, the New Orleans Saints have decided to name assistant head coach and linebackers coach Joe Vitt the team's interm head coach while Sean Payton is suspended.

So the Saints will go with Joe Vitt as interim head coach, but must be without Vitt for 1st 6 games 21 minutes ago via Twitter for BlackBerry® · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto

Because Vitt is suspended for the first six games of the season for his part in the bountygate scandal, the Saints must figure something else out until Week 7 (Week 8 if the Saints have an early bye week). According to general manager Mickey Loomis, the team will come up with a plan on how they will handle Vitt's six-game suspension in the coming weeks.

For more on the Saints, head to Canal Street Chronicles, and for more updates on the bounty scandal, follow SB Nation Atlanta's StoryStream.

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Saints Bounty Scandal Update: Suspensions Upheld, Could Reduce Fines

The suspended parties in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal can forget about NFL commissioner changing his mind in regards to the punishments handed down to the organization.

Several members of the Saints brass, which included head coach Sean Payton, appealed suspensions and other reprimands from the league, but Payton will still be out for one full season for his as the team's leader during the bounty probe that lasted from 2008 to 2011.

Payton's suspension was upheld, along with general manager Mickey Loomis who received an eight-game suspension and assistant coach Vitt who received six games. While the Payton suspension was supposed to begin in early April, the appeals process allows for him to begin it a bit later, which is now April 16.

Loomis and Vitt's suspensions don't begin until the end of the 2012 preseason. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, of course, is still suspended indefinitely. There may be a bit of a silver lining here on the financial side for the Saints, though, as SB Nation's football writer Joel Thorman notes:

"One bit of good news for the Saints is that the financial penalties -- the fines -- could be reduced. The Saints organization itself was fined $500,000 in light of the bounty scandal. Others were suspended without pay. For Payton, that's the loss of several million dollars in salary. It's unclear when Goodell will decide on the financial penalties."

Read more about the Saints bounty scandal at our story stream here. For more news and notes around the NFL, check out the SB Nation hub page.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Brutal New Audio Of Gregg Williams Encouraging Injuries, Head Shots

The most damning evidence to date against former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has been released publicly, in the form of an audio track recorded by a filmmaker who was working on a documentary about former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is currently battling ALS.

Sean Pamphilon gave the track to Yahoo's Michael Silver after he grew concerned about the specific language used by Williams. Below is the audio, recorded before the Saints' playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers in January. There are direct mentions of going after the head of running back Frank Gore and quarterback Alex Smith, the ankles of tight end Vernon Davis and the ACL of receiver Michael Crabtree. Please be warned that the language is at times profane:

The "Number 10" Williams referred to was wide receiver Kyle Williams, who had suffered a concussion in a regular season game in December. Pamphilon turned the audio over after hearing reports the Giants also targeted Kyle Williams the following week, and was convinced then that "targeting the head" was in no way metaphorical on Gregg Williams' part (courtesy Yahoo):

"When [Gregg Williams] was talking about the Gore stuff and saying ‘cut off the head,’ I was thinking, ‘That’s a metaphor,’ " Pamphilon says. "The thing that really got me was when he said the thing about No. 10 and concussions. I thought, ‘Did he just say that?’ That was the red flag for me. And then the comments by the Giants made it hit home even harder."

Gregg Williams is currently suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

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Bill Parcells Will Coach Saints If Sean Payton Asks Him To

Bill Parcells told Newsday writer Bob Glauber that he will consider taking the New Orleans Saints job as a favor for his friend Sean Payton.

"If this guy says to me, ‘Bill, I need you to do this,'" Parcells said of Payton, "That's what friends are supposed to be for."

So something that seemed far fetched to begin with is sounding more possible by the day. Giving control of the Saints to Parcells makes a lot of sense for Sean Payton while he serves his one-year suspension for his part in the Saints' bounty scandal.

At Parcells age, he is unlikely to want a long term position and would likely be the almost perfect caretaker for Payton and the Saints. Parcells would give Payton a replacement with a big name but not one that would be interested in his job over the long haul. Hypothetically speaking a younger option could take control of the team, perform well, and then have Saints owner Tom Benson decide that Payton isn't worth the trouble after the fall out of the bounty scandal. It is a situation that Sean Payton is likely very aware of.

SB Nation's Bomani Jones gives his take on Bill Parcels to the Saints.

For more on the New Orleans Saints, head over to Canal Street Chronicles. For updates on the bounty scandal, keep checking SB Nation Atlanta's story stream.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Arthur Blank Supports Roger Goodell's Decision

While taking a break from this week's owners meeting, Falcons owner Arthur Blank made his first public comments regarding the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal controversy. Blank supported Roger Goodell saying that he "totally backed" the commissioner's decision to suspend Saints coach Sean Payton and others for their part in the scandal.

While there was no mention of the Falcons at all in the NFL's report into the bounty system Blank wasn't convinced that players like Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan weren't targeted.

"I mean Matt wasn't one of the players named, but, on the other hand, I'd be hard put to believe that he wasn't a target at some point, whether he was named or not. There's just not a place for that in the game. It's a tough game and you're supposed to be physical, etc. but there's a line there. It's not even a fine line. It's a bright line that you just can't cross."

For more on the New Orleans Saints, head over to Canal Street Chronicles. For updates on the bounty scandal, keep checking SB Nation Atlanta's story stream.

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Bill Parcells, Saints To Meet Tuesday About Possible Interim Coaching Job

That thing about the New Orleans Saints looking into whether Bill Parcells might want to take over the team during Sean Payton's sabbatical? It's not going away -- Payton talked about it while speaking at the owners' meetings Tuesday morning -- and the two parties will reportedly meet later on in the day.

The jury's out on whether this would be a good move for everybody involved, but I know the average Atlanta Falcons fan would probably prefer to see some current Saints cornerbacks coach have to run the team for a season. Parcells can take over a locker room in an instant, and he's worked with Payton for several years before. Brian Billick tweeted that he wouldn't like the arrangement, so there's at least one contrary voice.

As we keep learning with the modern edition of the Saints, things just seem to keep working out all right.

For more on the Saints, visit Canal Street Chronicles.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: Sean Payton 'Sorry' For 'What Has Happened'

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who has been at the forefront of New Orleans' bounty scandal, finally released a statement to the public, a few days after Roger Goodell suspended Payton for the entire 2012 season.

I share and fully support the League's concerns and goals on player safety. It is, and should be paramount.

Respecting our great game and the NFL shield is extremely important to me.

Our organization will implement all necessary protections and protocols, and I will be more vigilant going forward.

I am sorry for what has happened and as head coach take full responsibility.

Finally, I want to thank Mr. Benson, our players and all Saints fans for their overwhelming support.

Payton should be sorry for what happened, and from his statement, it doesn't appear that he disagrees with Goodell's decision to suspend him for the entire 2012 season. Not only did Payton put players' health at risk, but he also cost New Orleans a pair of second-round draft picks -- so there is plenty to apologize for.

For more on the New Orleans Saints, head over to Canal Street Chronicles. For updates on the bounty scandal, keep checking SB Nation Atlanta's story stream.

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Saints Bounty Scandal: After Schadenfreude, The Fear Of 'New Orleans Vs. The World'

Whatever the Atlanta Falcons and the NFL might have gained in Roger Goodell's dismantling of the Saints' 2012 season might have come at the cost of creating a meaner, polarized and even more passionate Who Dat Nation.

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Jeremy Shockey Wasn't Saints' Snitch (Despite Warren Sapp's Claim), According To Report

We knew that the NFL's bounty investigation into the New Orleans Saints was stalled after several months of investigation. We knew it was then re-started after what the NFL described as a credible source came forward to provide more detail. Now Warren Sapp, who has plenty of current NFL connections, offers this up:

That's by no means rock solid, as Sapp frames it as a rumor he's passing along. But since he works for the NFL Network, we have to at least ... note it? Is that what we're doing here?


Related: Frequently Updated Saints #GreggGate Coverage

However, a report with intent from an actual journalist runs contrary:

Besides, there was this from earlier this month (though this really makes me wish the whole thing was true and Shockey was wise enough to plant contrary evidence weeks ago):

The Saints cut noted hothead Shockey about a year ago, opting for the younger Jimmy Graham instead. Shockey then went to play for the Carolina Panthers, a division foe. There's a plausible motive, but this is simply too perfect to be true. Reportedly.

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Joe Horn Says Falcons Had Bounty System In 2007

Current and former Atlanta Falcons have denied the team had a bounty system like the one the New Orleans Saints were busted for. But what about former Falcons who were also former Saints? If only we had ... hey, here's Joe Horn:

Horn played for Atlanta in 2007, meaning if the Birds did have any of this business going on at the time, we can blame Bobby Petrino. Thus, everything solves itself.


Related: Frequently Updated Saints #GreggGate Coverage

If the Falcons did somehow happen to be punished for a five-year old program (be sure to keep your bounty receipts for at least a decade, NFL players), there's really nobody left to punish. The entire coaching staff, most of the front office, and almost the whole roster is different. Sorry, Saints fans.

The receiver played two stints for New Orleans, both before and after his single season in Atlanta. He's a member of the Saints Hall of Fame, and made the comment while on Nola radio. He was born and raised in Saints country as well. He also seems to be pretty worked up. So take it for what it's worth. First, decide what you think it's worth, and then take it for that. Solid advice.

The NFL appears to be making an example of the Saints, then having every other team swear nothing like this will ever happen again. If other teams were doing the same thing, it's not exactly fair that only the Saints would be punished, but that's the team the NFL had evidence against.

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Saints Super Bowl Odds Slip, Falcons Get A Boost

As the team perhaps most affected by the punishments the NFL's handed the New Orleans Saints (besides, you know, the Saints), the Atlanta Falcons are in decent position to make a run for the NFC South title this year. Not that they wouldn't be otherwise, of course, and not that the other two teams aren't also capable. So diplomatic!

Bovada.lv has adjusted its NFC South Super Bowl odds accordingly, in light of Sean Payton's suspension for the year:

This is all before we find out whether Jonathan Vilma and other players will also miss games. If so, those numbers will draw closer and closer together. Kind of amazing to think the Saints could still be a Super Bowl favorite even without Payton, but they still have Drew Brees (for the time being!), a home field advantage that's going to be on absolute frantic tilt this year, and a horrifying suite of offensive firepower.

Stay right here for more coverage of the Saints' punishment by the NFL.

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Sean Payton Suspended 1 Year, Saints Docked Draft Picks

The NFL has indeed hammered the New Orleans Saints for Gregg Williams' bounty system. Expect to see no Sean Payton this year, for one thing. The Saints have also lost two draft picks, meaning they won't have a selection until Round 3 this year. This is all still pending punishments for players who were involved, meaning more could be on the way.

SB Nation's Joel Thorman has the details.

Saints head coach Sean Payton will be suspended for one full year for his role in the scandal, GM Mickey Loomis has been suspended eight games and issued a $500,000 fine and the Saints organization itself has been fined $500,000 and stripped of second round picks in the 2012 and 2013 NFL draft. Gregg Williams, former Saints defensive coordinator who is now with the St. Louis Rams, has been suspended indefinitely. Joe Vitt, assistant head coach, has been suspended six games without pay.

Atlanta's own Cam Newton was reportedly one specific target. Astounded to see Kurt Warner and Brett Favre listed here, aren't you?

For more on the Saints, visit Canal Street Chronicles.

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Saints Bounty Punishment To Be Announced This Week, According To Report

The NFC South's most exciting ongoing escapade could reach a thrilling conclusion this week, the NFL Network's Steve Wyche reports. The New Orleans Saints should learn their punishment for Gregg Williams' three-year bounty system by Friday, says Wyche.

It could come Wednesday, as the NFL's Competition Committee is holding a conference call this afternoon. Or it could come Thursday! That's a day we haven't mentioned yet! There, all bases covered. Baseball term.

The Saints are expected to lose a draft pick or two, while players found to have participated are expected to be suspended. Starting middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma may get the worst of it, as far as players go. Williams, now with the Rams, could very well be kicked out of the league.

Just about anything that's bad for the Saints would be good for the Atlanta Falcons, so we'll stay tuned.

For more on the Saints, visit Canal Street Chronicles.

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Roddy White Defends Saints' Bounty System, In A Roddy White Sort Of Way

The NFL Network and NFL.com writer Steve Wyche entertained the perpetually entertaining Roddy White on Friday, who had a two-pronged summation of the current bounty scandal plaguing the New Orleans Saints:

1. It didn't work, at least against the Falcons:

"If they did have bounties on us, they never got any of our guys out of the game," he said while visiting NFL Network studios in Los Angeles on Friday. "It was unsuccessful."

2. Whatevez, anyway, because football is football:

"It didn't bother me because like they're trying to take people's heads off we're trying to take people's heads off," White said. "Especially when we play against them, it's like a rivalry and it's a little extra in the week that you get ready for that game.

2a. Also, football is fast:

"Them going out and putting bounties on guys and things like that I guess it was motivation for them. During the game though, as fast as football is being played, I don't think you can intentionally try to injure guys because the game happens so fast."

So there you have it - absent a raid of future draft picks and timely suspensions for coaches and players, this is certainly punishment enough for Saints fans - that the reviled Roddy White is actually taking up for the city that looooooves him so.

For more on the Falcons and Saints, head over to The Falcoholic and Canal Street Chronicles, and be sure to check out SB Nation's NFL page, too.

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Sean Payton And Jim Tressel: My Cup Of Schadenfreude Runneth Over

The Saints had evidence of a scheme that violated league rules and their authority figures chose to sit on the evidence. Where have we heard this story before?

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Saints Bounty Investigation Could Make Offseason Pretty Fun

My, we're talking about the New Orleans Saints a lot today! With Drew Brees' new contract being a little bit more difficult to negotiate than you'd like, we were already set for a pretty enjoyable weekend of NFC South vibes, but this is just too much. Adam Schefter reported, and the NFL has confirmed, that the league has concluded a years-long investigation into the Saints, finding that former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was running a bounty system for his players.

This is against the rules, of course, especially since "performance" was often interpreted as "injuring people." The NFL's released a lengthy statement on the matter. Roger Goodell:

"The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,' but also for injuring opposing players," Commissioner Goodell said. "The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.

It's alleged that Sean Payton knew but did nothing to stop the program, the operation lasted for three years, and as many as 27 players contributed funds to the pool. More from the NFL:

The discipline could include fines and suspensions and, in light of the competitive nature of the violation, forfeiture of draft choices.

That's bad! Pretty bad stuff, Saints! And for those who would raise a complaint that the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line has also been accused of playing dirty, I'd point out that they're at least doing it for the love of the game and not for bounties, if indeed they are doing it. Not agreeing that they are. Never would. Pleased with 2012.

For more on the Saints, visit Canal Street Chronicles.

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