Bountygate: Don Banks Answers Lingering Questions

Just in case the Free Agency Frenzy (we're still CrazyForColston!!!, I'm almost done crying over Carl and missing Meachem, and we're just starting to go gaga for Grubbs!!!) has you so distracted that you forgot about the New Orleans Saints pay-for-performance program scandal, Don Banks of SI.com is here to bring you back to reality.

He published this piece on Friday, and in it, he runs through six burning questions dealing with the What's Next? aspect of the ongoing saga.

Make the jump to see exactly what he's asking, and how he's answering it...

Question # 1:

When is Goodell expected to announce any disciplinary measures against the Saints?

The available indications still point to Goodell opting to hand down his entire ruling for all parties involved some time next week, before the league's annual meeting unfolds the following week in Palm Beach, Fla., March 25-27.

Of course, for me, I'd like the hammer to come down sooner rather than later so we can all just move on, but I'm not sure when RG wants it out there for strategic gain.

Question # 2:

Has Goodell made his decision on discipline, and is just sitting on it for purposes of timing?

No one seems to know for certain, but it's thought that Goodell hasn't fully made up his mind yet. He's playing his decision very close to the vest, with no real information leaking from the league office or elsewhere. He probably has parameters in his head regarding possible suspensions, fines and forfeiture of draft picks, but hard numbers aren't being floated like trial balloons.

He's right, there hasn't been anything leaked, really, about actual sanctions, so we really don't know what exactly or how much will come down.

Question # 3:

The NFL Players Association last week asked the league to delay any decision on discipline until it has the opportunity to conduct its own investigation into the Saints' bounty program. Does it have any real ability or authority to conduct such an investigation?

Not really. The league can't compel Williams, Payton, Loomis or Benson to cooperate and talk to the players union for its independent investigation, and why exactly would the principals involved want to? What's the benefit for them in doing so, since the CBA spells out that the commissioner's office holds the power to investigate and impose discipline in cases such as this? The union has no authority to decide the fate of team officials or coaches.

Okey dokey, then.

Question # 4:

Are the penalties still expected to be as severe as some in the media have speculated, with Williams perhaps even in line for a lifetime ban from NFL coaching for his role in organizing and operating the Saints' bounty program?

I refuse to quote his answer here because it's a stupid question. He just got finished writing that no info has been leaked about the actual sanctions, so any answer to this question would just be based on more time the media have had to ruminate on this...GUH. I prefer to just wait until they're actually announced.

Question # 5:

What are the expected penalties for Payton and Loomis?

Here we go again. See above re: stupid questions.

Question # 6:

What about the potential penalties for the 22-27 Saints players mentioned in the league's report?

And that makes it 3 for 3 in the last half of the Q&A section containing dumber answers to stupid questions. @Nice finish, Don.@

* * *

And there you have it, another "update" and "what's next?" for the Saints in regard to the pay-for-performance scandal. I think I've had about enough of these, and won't spend much time even reading them...I'll just wait until they announce the sanctions.

Who's with me?

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