New Orleans Saints players justified in frustration, confusion at severity of "Bounty" punishments

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Apr 26, 2012; New York, NY, USA; A general view of the NFL shield logo before the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Four months ago, the National Football League seemed to be back on track. The league had survived the longest lockout of its history with most of the playing season intact.

Now the NFL and its players are embroiled in a battle for the sport they love. It all began with the investigation of the New Orleans Saints “bounty system”.

Coaches and team management received the brunt of the punishment, but recently 4 players: Johnathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove, and Scott Fujita were punished for their involvement whether passively as defensive leaders or actively in withholding information from the investigation.

Both Vilma and Smith have proclaimed their innocence and plan to appeal their respective punishments. Whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell amends their punishment is another story. I rather doubt it.

Whether Vilma is innocent is a different story. Although the fact that he may have a history with bounties does not help. The problem is with the evidence that the league has on the Saints.

Where is it? Outside of information released by media outlets and the voice recording of Gregg Williams explicitly firing his team up before the San Francisco 49ers game, much of it has not been released.

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