Players face discipline for bounty scandal

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFP)

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (Chris Graythen/Getty Images/AFP)

John Kryk, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:38 PM ET

PALM BEACH, FLA. - Players found culpable in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal soon will learn their fates.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said he hopes to receive a recommendation on discipline from the players association by Friday.

The commissioner, who made the announcement Wednesday in closing the three-day NFL annual meeting, said he would issue suspensions soon thereafter.

Saints head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis, then-defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams and assistant coach Joe Vitt learned last week of their lengthy suspensions.

The Saints now need to know which players will be suspended, and for how long, because it could affect their pursuit of available free agents and what holes they might want to fill in next month's draft.

"Yeah, I'm sensitive to that," Goodell said. "We certainly are going to proceed as quickly as possible. I mentioned to you that I've spoken to several of the players. We have additional people that we need to speak to.

"The most important issue is I need to speak to the NFLPA, which I expect to do before the end of the week. I hope that they will be in a position to give me a recommendation at that point in time that I will consider."

Goodell indicated that any player suspensions would not be as harsh as those he slapped on the Saints coaches and GM.

"I think I've been pretty clear. I hold coaches and executives to a higher standard," he said. "That's an important element of what the NFL is all about.

"We'll have to look into who was involved, how much were they were involved, what influence they had, and I'll have to do the best I can to make a judgment of how they should be handled from a discipline standpoint."

Goodell reiterated that the league would not tolerate any form of "non-contract bonuses," which include everything from the Saints bounty program down to seemingly innocent player-to-player merit gifts or payments.

"How do we eliminate this from the game?" Goodell said. "And we do need the players' co-operation to eliminate it from the game."


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