Wednesday, March 21, 2012
No bounty programs? Put it in writing
By Mike Sando
The presumption of innocence is gone from the NFL regarding bounty programs.
Teams now must certify their organizations as bounty-free under guidelines put into place Wednesday. Commissioner Roger Goodell informed teams that owners must meet with head coaches to confirm the absence of bounty programs.
"Each principal owner and head coach must certify this in writing to the commissioner by March 30," Goodell told teams in a memo, according to the NFL.
Also from the league:
"The annual certifications required of each club under the league’s 'Integrity of the Game Policy' will be modified to include specific references to bounties and pay-for-performance programs. The prohibition on pay-for-performance programs includes not just 'bounties' but any form of non-contract bonus payment. Owners and head coaches share the responsibility for ensuring adherence to these rules and for promoting player safety and the integrity of the game.
The punishment Goodell handed down Wednesday, including a year-long suspension for Saints coach Sean Payton and an indefinite one for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, now with the Rams, will get the attention of every owner in the NFL.
The punishment handed down to the players involved -- yet to be announced -- could deter players from pooling money for similar purposes, without the knowledge of coaches.