- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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We have yet another development in the scandal surrounding the New Orleans Saints and the "bounty program'' the NFL said the Saints ran the past three seasons.
The team just sent out a joint statement from coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis. Here it is in its entirety:
“We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch. We take full responsibility.
“This has brought undue hardship on Mr. (team owner Tom) Benson, who had nothing to do with this activity. He has been nothing but supportive, and for that we both apologize to him.
“These are serious violations, and we understand the negative impact it has had on our game. Both of us have made it clear within our organization that this will never happen again, and make that same promise to the NFL, and most importantly to all of our fans.’’
“Mickey Loomis & Sean Payton’’
So, like former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who the league said spearheaded the bounty program, Payton and Loomis have admitted they violated league rules. They also have apologized for it.
Good for them. That’s the best thing they can do right now.
But, once again, I don’t think this is going to get the Saints off the hook completely by any means. Although Williams left and is now with the St. Louis Rams, the violations happened on the watch of Payton and Loomis. They’re still in New Orleans.
The violations also reportedly involved 22 to 27 players, according to league. Commissioner Roger Goodell has made a lot of noise about player safety in recent years. I strongly suspect he’ll come down hard on the Saints.
The league already has said potential discipline could include fines, suspensions and the possible loss of draft picks. I think the Saints could be looking at all three scenarios when Goodell announces their discipline.