A decision is expected within a week, and the NFL definitely has reason to worry, at least a little. The letters advising Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove of their suspensions make no effort to distinguish between a pay-for-performance program and a bounty system, instead lumping both together. While the letters claims that the suspensions are based upon conduct detrimental to the game, a pay-for-performance system (e.g., $500 bucks for making an interception) isn’t nearly as detrimental to the game as a pay-for-injury system. By making reference to the pay-for-performance system in the letters, the NFL has fueled the argument that the matter should have been handled by Burbank.
If Burbank compels the league to start over, Goodell will have no choice but to do so, probably by fashioning discipline in a way that avoids Burbank’s salary-cap jurisdiction. And while the suspensions may eventually stick, the notion that the process initially was mishandled would create a major P.R. hit for the league — surely prompting some casual observers to simply conclude (albeit erroneously) that there wasn’t a bounty system at all.
In short, things could get even more interesting, soon.
The ledger fricked the saints
You mean the part where the NFL source said that there was no indication that there was a pay for injury program?