Sucks to be the Saints. I guess some would say that it should suck to be them, since they were paying bounties to attempt to pretty much end careers. Being involved with Bountygate has not been good, and the latest member to learn that it wasn't a good idea to be part of this was LB Jonathan Vilma. Vilma learned today, supposedly via Sportscenter, that he was being suspended for the entire season. Ouch.
Vilma isn't alone, up to now here are the suspensions, fines and punishments linked to Bountygate handed out by the NFL so far:
Head Coach Sean Payton - suspended for 2012 season w/o pay
Team - fined $500,000 and forfeited two second round picks (2012/2013)
General Manager Mickey Loomis - eight game suspension starting after preseason 2012
Ex-Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams - suspended indefinitely
Interim Coach Joe Vitt - six game suspension starting after preseason 2012
DT Anthony Hargrove (now with Green Bay) - suspended eight games w/o pay
DE Will Smith (not gettin jiggy wit it) - suspended four games w/o pay
LB Scott Fujita (now with Cleveland)- suspended three games w/o pay
LB Jonathan Vilma - suspended for entire 2012 season w/o pay (contract for 2012 would've paid him $3.3 million)
No doubt the Saints were wrong for what they did, but this wrong?
I've written about this before, how I am not shocked by Bountygate and really not offended either. Reason being the game of football is built on this same mentality (as are other sports) and in the NFL, the guys that live up to this mentality best get paid more. Therefore, in a way, with this mentality all players already participate in a "bounty" system every single game of the NFL schedule (well maybe not the Pro Bowl). I won't go too much into that again though, you can read the old posts here and here if you'd like or don't understand what I am saying.
I understand that the NFL doesn't agree with my take, but that's because they can't agree with my take if they are going to keep their enterprise as successful as it is. That is why the NFL has taken such a hard stance in their punishments for Bountygate. They don't want this to happen again, or at least never for it to show its face to the public again.
Whether it is as out in the open as the Saints did it or not, the mentality that was preached in Bountygate via Gregg Williams will continue to thrive in the NFL, and it would have even if the NFL had wiped the Saints off the map entirely.