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Bounty program suspensions shake NFL


Several former and current New Orleans Saints’ players received their suspension rulings for their involvement in the team’s controversial bounty program, in which players received monetary rewards for injuring opposing players or making big plays. Of the four suspensions, three of them were half the season or less. One player, New Orleans linebacker and captain Jonathan Vilma, was suspended for the entire 2012 NFL season without pay.

Vilma’s punishment is equal to that of the head coach, Sean Payton, and has been called harsh by many of ESPN’s broadcasters and writers. Mike and Mike in the Morninghost Mike Greenberg explained that Vilma’s suspension does more than punish him. The average playing time for an NFL linebacker is around 10 years. By taking away one of his seasons, the commissioner is depriving him of 10 percent of his career. This is not the case with Sean Payton. A coach could have a career of 40 plus years. This is just a scratch on the surface.

All four players will go before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to appeal their suspensions, but no change is likely to occur. In addition to appeals, the National Football League Players Association, NFLPA, will be challenging Goodell’s ability to suspend Vilma for the duration of a season. Team members and officials had already visited with Goodell to demand an explanation for their coach’s previous suspension.

Needless to say, the commissioner is not making any friends in New Orleans. His reign began as one of the best in NFL history, but his recent decisions may be hurting his support. Saints’ fans had a bad taste in their mouths after Goodell tried to wrestle the profits of the famous Fleur de Lis from the organization. Many New Orleans bloggers say that the investigation only started after the Saints fought for the symbol.

It’s not just the Saints that are angry. During the 2011 NFL Draft, most of the attendees of the event continuously booed the commissioner for not being able to end the NFL Lockout. The unfortunate tragedy was not entirely his fault, but he certainly could have done more to prevent it.

Goodell’s seat of power looks stable enough, despite the numerous fans calling for his termination. But if he wants to continue his reign over the world of football, he better shape up.

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About the Contributor
Taylor Potter, Co-editor in chief
As a singer, he’s horrible. As a dancer, he nauseating. As a journalist, he’s one of the three co-editors in chief. Senior Taylor Potter is entering his third year of writing for the Tiger Times, and his second year of bossing around younger staff members. He is a member of NHS, Quill and Scroll and is a 2013 Al Neuharth Free Spirit Scholar. While his singing, dancing, acting, fighting, whistling, snapping and gymnastics skills are mediocre, his ability to write and speak in a Batman voice is unmatched.

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Bounty program suspensions shake NFL