NFL-Saints accept punishment, apologize for bounties


Wed, 21 Mar 22:28:00 2012

The New Orleans Saints have accepted the penalties handed down to them by the National Football League (NFL) over the "pay for pain" scandal and apologized for their actions.

The Saints released a statement on Wednesday saying they took full responsibility for violating the sport's rules and vowed never to do it again.

"To our fans, the NFL and the rest of our league, we offer our sincere apology and take full responsibility for these serious violations," the statement read.

"It has always been the goal of the New Orleans Saints to create a model franchise and to impact our league in a positive manner.

"There is no place for bounties in our league and we reiterate our pledge that this will never happen again."

Earlier on Wednesday, the NFL handed down a series of punishments to staff at the Saints for their involvement in a brutal scheme where players were financially rewarded for deliberately injuring their opponents.

Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for a year without pay while former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely.

General manager Mickey Loomis was suspended without pay for the first eight games of the upcoming regular season while assistant head coach Joe Vitt was suspended for six games.

The team was fined $500,000 and will forfeit their selections in the second round of the 2012 and 2013 NFL drafts.

"We recognize our fans' concerns and we regret the uncertainty this episode has created for them," New Orleans said in their statement.

"We are humbled by the support our organization has received from our fans today in the wake of this announcement, and we ask them to continue to stand with us, as they have done in the past, when both our team and our city have overcome greater adversities."


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