NEW ORLEANS, LA - FILE: Linebacker Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints in action during the game against the Indianapolis Colts on October 23, 2011 at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was reported on May 2, 2012 that linebacker Jonathan Vilma along with three other players have been suspended by the NFL for their role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty system. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The NFL suspended four players Wednesday for their roles in what many have called Bountygate, because every scandal now has "gate" tacked on to the end of it.. It's the law.
The biggest hit, according to Pro Football Talk, landed on Jon Vilma. The Saints linebacker was suspended for the entire season, a blow the Saints can absorb because they signed approximately a half dozen options over the spring, including former Falcon Curtis Lofton. Fellow Saint Will Smith got four games, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove is suspended for eight and Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita received three. All four were members of the Saints during the bounty brouhaha.
The NFLPA is expected to fight this in some way, particularly since its leadership has repeatedly grumbled that it has not seen any direct evidence that payments were made in this program. Whether that's true and whether they'll be able to successfully fight these suspensions is, at best, up in the air. Still, expect them to try.
All four teams will weather this particular storm, and for the Saints, it's just the latest tidal wave. They've been preparing for this all off-season.
As always, I would prefer you did not head to our Saints blog and taunt anyone. It's been one hell of an off-season for that fanbase.