In March, the NFL said an investigation found the Saints had an “active bounty program” during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. During this time, players were purportedly offered “bounty” payments if they managed to hurt opposing players and knock them out of a game.
The following statement by the NFL was released following the announcement:
“We respect Mr. Tagliabue’s decision, which underscores the due process afforded players in NFL disciplinary matters.
This matter has now been reviewed by Commissioner Goodell, two CBA grievance arbitrators, the CBA Appeals Panel, and Mr. Tagliabue as Commissioner Goodell’s designated appeals officer.
The decisions have made clear that the Saints operated a bounty program in violation of league rules for three years, that the program endangered player safety, and that the commissioner has the authority under the CBA to impose discipline for those actions as conduct detrimental to the league.
Strong action was taken in this matter to protect player safety and ensure that bounties would be eliminated from football.”