The NFL came down hard on the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday.
Saints coach Sean Payton has been suspended for one year, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely, general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for the first eight regular-season games, the team was fined $500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks (one in 2012 and ’13) as a result of a bounty program conducted by the team during the 2009-11 seasons that targeted opposing players.
Saints assistant coach Joe Vitt also was suspended six games and fined $100,000. The NFL said in its statement that the suspensions for Payton, Loomis and Vitt are without pay.
Payton’s suspension is effective April 1. Commissioner Roger Goodell will meet with Williams after the 2012 season and determine the coach’s status.
“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game,” Goodell said in a statement announcing the punishments. “We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised.