NFL Suspends Vilma, Fujita, Smith and Hargrove for roles in “BountyGate”
The NFL is NOT kidding around when it comes to player safety. They just dropped the bomb today on 4 players for their roles in the New Orleans Saints bounty program.
All suspensions are without pay, so look for all four players to appeal NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ruling in the allowed 3 day window. Here are today’s suspensions:
- Jonathan Vilma was suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season by the NFL. According to the league, Saints defensive captain Vilma offered $10,000 in cash to any player who knocked then-Cardinals QB Warner out of a playoff game at the end of the 2009 season, and the same amount for knocking then-Vikings QB Favre out of that season’s NFC championship game.
- Anthony Hargrove, now with the Green Bay Packers, was suspended for the first half of this season
- Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, will miss the first three games. According to the NFL, Fujita “pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL Playoffs when he played for the Saints.”
- Will Smith was barred for the opening four games. The NFL said that “multiple independent sources” said Smith “pledged significant sums to the program pool.”
Fujita, Hargrove, and Smith are allowed to participate in offseason activity, including preseason games, before their suspensions take effect. Vilma, though, is suspended immediately and will be reinstated after the coming season’s Super Bowl — which, coincidentally, will be played in New Orleans.
Goodell also suspended Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games next season and assistant coach Joe Vitt for the first six games. The Saints were fined $500,000 and lost two second-round draft picks.