Jimmy Johnson on Payton’s Bounty-Gate Suspension – “Too Severe”

From FOX Sports –

Jimmy Johnson on Saints Bounty Punishment: “It’s Too Severe. I Don’t Agree With It.”

NASCAR on FOX Heads to California for Auto Club 400 Sunday at 2:30 PM ET

NFL ON FOX ANALYSTS REACT TO SAINTS BOUNTY PENALTIES — This afternoon, the NFL handed down harsh penalties against the New Orleans Saints for running a bounty system targeting opposing offensive players. Former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely, head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season, general manager Mickey Loomis is suspended for the first eight games and linebackers/assistant head coach Joe Vitt for the first six games. Additionally, the Saints were fined $500,000 and stripped of second-round draft choices in the 2012 and 2013 drafts.

FOX Sports’ NFL analysts Jimmy Johnson, John Lynch and Brian Billick react to the NFL’s punishment.

Johnson on whether the punishment was too harsh: “I’m shocked. It’s too severe and I 1000% don’t agree with it. To lose your head coach for a whole year – that’s essentially an $8 million fine [Payton’s reported salary for this season] against Sean. That’s wrong. Drew Brees will stay in New Orleans, step up and rally the troops but this is going to cripple the Saints.”

Billick on the challenges that face the 2012 Saints head coach: “It’s so difficult for whoever they bring in to replace Sean Payton. Steve Spagnuolo [Saints defensive coordinator] makes sense because a former head coach should be the guy. That person needs to figure out if they put the practices they are comfortable with in place because they will be the coach for the whole year or do they go along with what Payton would want and coach under his structure. That’s a difficult decision to make.”

Lynch on the impact the punishment has on the rest of the NFL: “Commissioner Goodell rules with an iron fist and this certainly serves notice. There won’t be any bounties going on from here on out.  A lot of people knew Gregg Williams was going to get a harsh punishment, but Sean Payton’s punishment surprised me. They were made examples of.  When people see a guy like Sean Payton lose an entire year and Gregg Williams losing maybe more than a year, that speaks loudly. Sean Payton can recover from this because of who he is, but not a lot of other people could.  It’s a harsh punishment.  It’s definitely a blow to the New Orleans Saints.”

NASCAR ON FOX GOES BACK TO CALI FOR AUTO CLUB 400 PRESENTED BY 5-HOUR ENERGY — NASCAR’s most famous Tweeter Brad Keselowski captured the checked flag last week at Bristol, but the sports’ biggest news involves five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. With his failed inspection penalties amended, Johnson now finds himself just outside of the top 10 when the NASCAR on FOX season heads to Fontana for Auto Club 400 Presented by 5-Hour Energy on Sunday, March 25 (2:30 PM ET).

Coverage starts with the FOX NASCAR SUNDAY prerace show hosted by Chris Myers, with up-to-the-minute reports, live interviews with drivers, crewmen and officials shaping the day’s action and analysis from Darrell Waltrip and Michael Waltrip. Veteran analyst Jeff Hammond takes his extensive experience as a former championship-winning crew chief to where the action is, in the garages and pit road.

Once the green flag drops, race announcer Mike Joy is alongside analysts Waltrip and Larry McReynolds to call all the twists and turns on the track while Dick Berggren, Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum patrol the pits for reports on teams and pit stops.

Last week, a three-member NASCAR appeals panel unanimously upheld the penalties handed down to five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus for failing an inspection prior to the Daytona 500 last month.  Johnson’s team lost 25 driver points and Knaus was suspended for six races and fined $100,000. This week, in an appeal to National Stock Car Racing Chief Appellate Officer John Middlebrook, the six-week suspensions NASCAR had issued Knaus and Ron Malec were rescinded. So was the 25-point owner and driver penalty that had been assessed the team. The $100,000 fine against Knaus was allowed to stand.

MCREYNOLDS ON JOHNSON, KNAUS & MALEC PENALTIES BEING RESCINDED: “I’M SHOCKED” – “I’m shocked,” McReynolds writes. “When I read that the majority of the penalties had been rescinded, I almost dropped my phone. I just never believed that John Middlebrook, with that appeal committee last week unanimously upholding NASCAR’s penalties, would have overturned two of the three elements. When you think about those three elements – points, money and suspension, even though $100,000 is a lot of money to a lot of folks, it’s even a lot of money to Hendrick Motorsports – the most valuable part of the equation is having crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec at the racetrack, moving right on, straight from Bristol now to California this week. Then, obviously, we all know the importance of points.”

To read more from McReynolds, click here: http://on-msn.com/GHGJMO

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