(METAIRIE, La) — New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton apologized on Friday for his unwillingness to stop a bounty system he was a part of for three years under his watch, saying he takes “full responsibility” for the program.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday suspended Payton for the 2012 season, effective April 1, for his participation in the program.
“I share and fully support the league’s concerns and goals on player safety,” said Payton in a written statement released by the team. “It is, and should be, paramount. Respecting our great game and the NFL shield is extremely important to me,” Payton added, referring to the league’s famous logo.”
After extensive research, the NFL has said the bounty program started in 2009, the same year the Saints won the Super Bowl.
Goodell fined the Saints $500,000 and took away second-round draft choices in 2012 and 2013 and also suspended former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely for being the ring leader behind the program.
Payton also thanked team owner Tom Benson, his players and Saints fans “for their overwhelming support.”
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