What should be the last of the punishments handed out for the New Orleans Saints bounty program were handed down yesterday (i.e. 5/2/12). This time NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell focused on the players, suspending Scott Fujita (now with the Cleveland Browns) for 3 games, Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers) for 8 games, Will Smith received 4 games, and Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season.
The NFL released a statement, which reads, in part:
“In assessing player discipline, I focused on players who were in leadership positions at the Saints; contributed a particularly large sum of money toward the program; specifically contributed to a bounty on an opposing player; demonstrated a clear intent to participate in a program that potentially injured opposing players; sought rewards for doing so; and/or obstructed the 2010 investigation.”
What Goodell did not do, was notify the players of their impending suspensions.
Chase Daniels, a teammate of Vilma’s released this tweet moments after the news of the suspension broke on the national sports networks:
This just shows a lack of professional courtesy on the part of Roger Goodell. Sure, there may have been any number of reason that the league chose to break the news to the media before informing the players, but when you are talking about taking a full year of pay away from someone, you would think that you would have the decency to let them know about it.
I am not going to defend Vilma, nor will I condemn him. There has been little evidence presented that would allow me to lean either way with any certainty. What I am saying is, the Commissioner should have been a professional and let the players hear it from their agents, or from his office, rather than finding out like the rest of the world.
It is a matter of living up to the same standard the players are being held to. The NFL has been championed as a business, and the players as employees that must carry themselves in a way that reflects well upon the corporation. The same holds true for Goodell.
Of course, this is a small part of the big picture, but it should not be overlooked.
Show respect to your people or lose the respect they hold for you.
Jeff Everette is a featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on twitter @jeverettesports, or his facebook page Jeff Everette- Rant Sports, for all of his latest articles, opinions, and rants.