Bounties, Lawsuits and More for the Weekend

Mar 22, 2012

As big a deal as the League and Commissioner Goodell made of the Saints’ bounty program, you’d think it was something that no one ever knew about over the years and years that it’s been going on at all levels of the game. This story’s been in the headlines for the past couple of week and Roger Goodell finally issued his ruling earlier this week. It didn’t take long for new stories to come out that covered the underside of the story. Here are two of those headlines from FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez and A.J. Perez.
.
We’ll be discussing these along with many other legal and medical issues that affect retired players at our upcoming Conference April 20 – 22 in Las Vegas. Be sure to register HERE and book your rooms and flight.

NFL suspends Saints coach for one year

Alex Marvez
Mar 21, 2012
.
The NFL on Wednesday levied one of the harshest penalties in league history in punishing the New Orleans Saints for running an illegal bounty system targeting opposing offense players.
.
The NFL disciplined multiple members of the Saints organization for their participation or connection with the bounty system that was run by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams from 2009-11. Williams was suspended indefinitely. Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season. General manager Mickey Loomis is suspended for the first eight games and linebackers/assistant head coach Joe Vitt for the first six.
.
In addition, the Saints were fined $500,000 and stripped of second-round draft choices in the 2012 and 2013 drafts. The Saints already didn’t have a first-round pick in the draft this April because they dealt it to New England last year for the chance to select running back Mark Ingram.
.
Read the rest of the article by clicking HERE.
.

Player safety must be NFL priority

A.J. Perez
Updated Mar 22, 2012
.
Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers and Kurt Warner were targets of the New Orleans Saints’ pay-for-performance scheme, one of many revelations as the league announced sanctions Wednesday.
.
It wasn’t disclosed by the NFL if the bounties were literally placed on the stars’ heads, a scary thought for player safety advocates.
.
“When you hear about players being targeted, one of the first things you worry about is headhunting,” said Kevin Guskiewicz, professor at the University of North Carolina and member of the NFL’s head, neck and spine committee. “There are numerous ways to knock a player out of a game. I hate to even think that they’d plan that out so methodically.”
.
Read the rest of the article by clicking HERE.
.
And here’s a story from CNBC’s Darren Rovell that wraps it up and then ties a neat ribbon all around this with all those concussion lawsuits (he counts at least 49 suits so far!):
.

Bounty Punishments Likely Connected To Concussion Lawsuits

Published: Thursday, 22 Mar 2012
.
By: Darren Rovell
CNBC Sports Business Reporter
.
On Wednesday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed out some pretty tough punishments to those involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, including a one-year suspension for head coach Sean Payton and the loss of second-round draft picks for the next two years.
.
If you want to know why Goodell had such a heavy hand, look no further than the amount of concussion lawsuits that are currently filed against the league by former players.
.
Showing a no-tolerance policy like this is just legally smart as the NFL gets ready to defend these cases, which are growing by the minute.
.
Read the rest of the article by clicking HERE.
.
Then we have Senator Dick Durbin already calling for a hearing into Bountygate:
.
AP

Senator Calls Hearing to Examine Bounties in NFL

By HOWARD FENDRICH AP Pro Football Writer
WASHINGTON March 22, 2012 (AP)
.
The Senate wants to grill the NFL about bounties. And the NBA, NHL, NCAA and Major League Baseball are invited, too.
.
Sen. Dick Durbin is setting up a Judiciary Committee hearing about bounties in professional football and other major sports in the wake of news that New Orleans Saints players received extra cash for hits that hurt particular opponents.
.
The assistant Senate majority leader, an Illinois Democrat, said Thursday he wants to examine whether federal law should make such bounty systems a crime.
.
“Let’s be real basic about it here. If this activity were taking place off of a sporting field, away from a court, nobody would have a second thought (about whether it’s wrong). ‘You mean, someone paid you to go out and hurt someone?'” Durbin said in a telephone interview before raising the issue on the floor of the Senate.
.
Read the rest of the article by clicking HERE.
.
And finally, this little gem got slipped in at the end of the day:
.

Berthelsen retiring as NFLPA general counsel

.
Richard Berthelsen announced at the annual NFLPA player representative meeting Thursday that he will be stepping down as union’s general counsel on May 15 and will assume a senior consulting role with the organization. The transition day will mark his 40th anniversary with the NFLPA.
.
“Building the game, to me, means making it better for players. Over the years, there have been so many that have stepped forward to do that. You here in this room have stepped forward as leaders to build this game,” Berthelsen told the players. “I hope you have Hall of Fame careers, all of you, but I’m going to remember you as the men who built this game. This has been an incredible, unbelievable experience.”
.
Berthelsen has played a pivotal role at the NFLPA since May 1972, when he joined the organization as a full-time legal counsel and principal assistant. In 1983, he was appointed NFLPA general counsel.
.
Read the rest of the article by clicking HERE.
.

One Response so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Andre
    January 28th, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    Mr. Laird,Once again I want to thank you and all of the others who have stood up for the NFL wiwdos excluded in the Legacy Fund. I appreciate your tenacious efforts on our behalf and would like to let you know that I am willing to join with you and not just for this cause but for other atrocities concerning my late husband’s fellow players in the NFL. If you have any suggestions on how we can help, I would appreciate your sharing them.Laurel AyersWidow of John AyersSF 49ers 1976-1986Denver Broncos 1987