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NFL upholds Saints' suspensions

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NFL upholds Saints' suspensions

NEW YORK (AP) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has rejected the appeals of coach Sean Payton and other New Orleans Saints officials stemming from the league's probe into the club's bounty system.After hearing from Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and assistant head coach Joe Vitt last week, Goodell decided Monday to uphold his initial sanctions, which include Payton's suspension for the entire 2012 season. That penalty begins April 16.RELATED: Maiocco -- Culture change should ensue
The NFL released this statement:

"The New Orleans Saints, along with General Manager Mickey Loomis, Head Coach Sean Payton, and Assistant Head Coach Joe Vitt, were notified today that after careful consideration of their appeals, Commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the discipline that was imposed for continuing violations of the league's anti-bounty rule that endangered player safety over a three-year period.
RELATED: Donte Whitner says bounty penalties not severe enough
The club and the individuals will be expected to cooperate in any further proceedings and to assist in the development and implementation of programs to instruct players and coaches at all levels on principles of player safety, fair play, and sportsmanship.If they embrace the opportunity and participate in a constructive way, Commissioner Goodell said he would consider mitigating the financial penalties on the individuals. In the case of the team, the commissioner would consider whether there are factors that would support modifying the forfeiture of the team's 2013 second-round draft choice.Sean Paytons suspension without pay for the 2012 NFL season will begin on April 16.The suspensions without pay of Mickey Loomis for eight games and Joe Vitt for six games will begin at the end of the preseason.

RELATED: Gregg Williams' pregame speech instructed Saints to injure 49ersAt the conclusion of their suspensions, the commissioner will review the status of each of the three individuals to determine their eligibility for reinstatement."
The Saints now must find an interim coach from candidates including top assistants as well as retired coach Bill Parcells.Suspensions of eight games for Loomis and six games for Vitt will begin when the preseason ends. Also upheld were the team's 500,000 fine and loss of second-round draft picks this year and next.Goodell says he would consider lowering the financial penalties, and "modifying the forfeiture" of the 2013 draft pick.
NFL media services contributed to this report

New York City law enforcement members hold rally to support Kaepernick

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USATSI

New York City law enforcement members hold rally to support Kaepernick

NEW YORK — A former New York City police officer, whose claims of police corruption in the 1970s were chronicled in an Al Pacino movie, joined dozens of current and former officers Saturday at a rally in support of getting quarterback Colin Kaepernick a job in the National Football League.

The former San Francisco 49ers player became a controversial figure last year after he refused to stand for the national anthem in what he called a protest against oppression of people of color.

He opted out of his contract in March and became a free agent, but so far, no NFL teams have signed him for the upcoming season.

The gathering in Brooklyn featured about 75 mostly minority officers wearing black T-shirts reading "#imwithkap."

One exception was retired officer Frank Serpico, whose exploits were featured in the 1973 film, "Serpico."

He admitted not being a football fan, but said he felt it was important to support Kaepernick for his stance.

"He's trying to hold up this government up to our founding fathers," said the now 81-year-old Serpico.

Sgt. Edwin Raymond, who said he was heading to work after the rally, spoke of the need for racial healing in the country.

"Until racism in America is no longer taboo, we own up to it, we admit it, we understand it and then we do what we have to do to solve it, unfortunately we're going to have these issues," he said.

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

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AP

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.