The commissioner has spoken, once again. As expected, his voice was heard clearly across the NFL world. The NFL announced on Wednesday morning that four current and former Saints players have been suspended for their roles in the Saints bounty system. Jonathan Vilma has been banned for the entire 2012 season while defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove was given an eight-game suspension, defensive end Will Smith a four-game suspension, and linebacker Scott Fujita a three-game ban.
Fujita is now with the Browns and Hargrove is with the Packers. While many believe Gregg Williams should shoulder most — if not all — of the blame for running a bounty system, Goodell and company clearly do not agree. Vilma and Sean Payton will both miss all of 2012, and the NFL has suspended current and former Saints players, coaches, and officials a total of 61 regular-season games since the offseason began.
Vilma, who currently has a picture of the Sports Illustrated bounty scandal cover as his Twitter avatar, was believed to be far more than just a participant in the program. He once reportedly placed $10,000 on a locker room table and told his teammates it would go to anyone who could knock Brett Favre out of a 2010 playoff game. As we saw from Favre’s ankle injury a couple of seasons ago, the cash may have inspired his teammates.