NEW YORK // NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the sanctions imposed on New Orleans coach Sean Payton and other Saints officials over the team's "bounty" payouts to players who injured opponents.
Payton was banned for the upcoming NFL season after a league probe uncovered the bounty scheme, finding between 22 and 27 Saints players took thousands of dollars in payoffs for delivering hits that forced opposing players out of games.
The league had warned the team it was investigating, but the programme wasn't halted.
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the instigator of the pay-for-injury programme that ran from 2009 through 2011, did not appeal his indefinite suspension and has apologised for what he called a "terrible mistake".
But Payton, Saints general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant coach Joe Vitt met with Goodell on Thursday to appeal their punishments.
Payton's suspension without pay for the 2012 NFL season will begin on April 16. Loomis is suspended for eight games and Vitt for six games.
"The club and the individuals will be expected to cooperate in any further proceedings and to assist in the development and implementation of programmes to instruct players and coaches at all levels on principles of player safety, fair play, and sportsmanship," the league said in a statement.
"If they embrace the opportunity and participate in a constructive way, Commissioner Goodell said he would consider mitigating the financial penalties on the individuals," the statement said, adding that Goodell could yet "modify" the decision to strip the Saints of their 2013 second-round draft choice.
The NFL has yet to determine if players involved in the bounty scheme will be disciplined.
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