NFL Bounty Scandal – Update

In the midst of the severe penalties that the NFL imposed in the bounty case involving the New Orleans Saints, the league has told each of its teams to certify in writing that it does not have a bounty program in operation.

According to the league, all 32 teams were informed through instructions on a memo on Wednesday. The written certifications are due by March 30 and must be signed by the team’s head coach and owner.

“Bounty programs have no place in our game,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. “They are incompatible with our efforts to promote sportsmanship, fair play, and player safety.”

In the past, teams have been required to annually certify that they complied with all league rules relating to fair competition. In the future, each team’s annual certification will now include distinct references to bounty systems and ‘pay-for-performance’ programs. Players receiving cash payments only for key plays such as interceptions and fumble recovers, according to league, would violate NFL rules.

On Wednesday, the league announced that it had suspended Saints Coach Sean Payton, General Manager Mickey Loomis and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for their involvement in the team’s bounty program, where players were paid for hits that injured opponents. Payton was suspended for the entire upcoming season. Loomis was suspended for eight games. Williams was suspended indefinitely, with his case to be reviewed after the season. Additionally, the Saints were fined $500,000 and stripped of 2 second-round draft picks.