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.