The NFL has suspended four Saints players for their involvement in the teams cash-for-hits bounty program in which they engaged in targeting select opposing team players and caused physical injuries with the intent to remove them from the game by being overly rough and cruel.
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma - suspended for the entire 2012 season without pay. Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove - suspended for the first half of the 2012 season without pay. (He is now with the Green Bay Packers) Defensive end Will Smith - Suspended for the 4 opening games without pay. linebacker Scott Fujita - suspended for the first three games without pay. (He is now with the Cleveland Browns)
All four players have three days to appeal NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's ruling.
After discovery of video records and informants, the NFL determined the team willfully engaged in the bounty program starting in 2009 that awards thousands of dollars in rewards for Saints players to injure selected opposing team members causing the injured players to be removed from games. The NFL also said it was created by Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams who was seen on video recordings talking about the bounty incentive program.
Targeted opponents included quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Brett Favre and Kurt Warner. "Knockouts" were worth $1,500 and "cart-offs" $1,000, with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs.