Kristian: What would you do with the Saints if you were the commissioner?
"Bounty Gate" has rocked the NFL and the New Orleans Saints. Former Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams is in New York today to meet with league officials to delve deeper into the scandal. The league is trying to determine if Williams implemented other systems to pay players under the table to hurt opponents in his previous coaching stops in Washington, Tennessee, Buffalo and Jacksonville.
Big trouble is on the horizon for the Saints and Williams. In my opinion, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell potentially faces his biggest challenge and controversy as the leader of the best league in pro sports.
Here is what we know: Gregg Williams admitted to "pay for performance" transgressions. He admitted to setting up the bounty system in New Orleans. The NFL says that Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis knew about the system. However, if you're the commissioner, you have to look at the entire league. This is a systemic problem.
While you can make the argument that this bounty system has been in place for years, don't make the argument that it's not a big deal because it's been around the NFL for so long. If you believe that, I question how much you care about the National Football League. The NFL has the greatest game on the planet. Period! I want it played with great integrity and passion. Just because something has been going on for years, does not mean the Saints were forced into installing the tactic. The Saints, and other teams, knowingly violated league rules. What are the consequences of the violations? Well that's up to commissioner Roger Goodell.
What would you do if you were the commissioner?
If I were Goodell, I would first and foremost open a league wide investigation to determine just how widespread the problem is in the NFL. If it's as wide spread as we think, it might make the punishment more difficult and cumbersome.
Let's take a look at each party involved...
Gregg Williams: He's already admitted to conducting the bounty system during his three seasons with the Saints. Unconfirmed reports have Williams executing similar schemes in his previous coaching stops. How cooperative has he been with the league? If he expresses remorse and cooperation, the punishment might be less severe for Williams. If I'm the commissioner, I give Williams 1 year off at the minimum. I also consider making him pay a hefty fine. Goodell could hammer Williams with a multi-year suspension and be justified in doing so.
Saints Organization: The penalties hear could be extremely painful. Considering the totality of it all, I would smack the Saints with a $2 million fine, and force them to forfeit a 1st and 3rd round pick in 2013.
Mickey Loomis: According to investigation released by the NFL, the Saints general manager had knowledge of the Bounty Gate scandal and reportedly made an attempt to lie to the commissioner during the initial investigation. It's never good to lie to Goodell. Mike Vick lied and paid a dear price. Not to mention, Loomis is a "team administrator" considered by the league as "one of us." If I'm the commissioner, I give Loomis a hefty fine and a 1 year suspension as well. I know he didn't implement the plan, but he's accountable as the organization's GM and executive vice president.
Sean Payton: The NFL says Payton had knowledge of the bounty program, but did nothing to stop it. He's the leader of the team, it was his coach - who he hired - allegedly implementing this program. I say it's an 8 game suspension for Payton, coupled with a fine of $300,000.
We'll likely find out the punishment from the commissioner on or before March 25th at the league owners' meetings. It's going to be sever in all likelihood.
What would you do if you were the commissioner? Sound off below...