Several Steelers players reacted incredulously today on Twitter to the punishment handed four New Orleans Saints players -- including a one-year suspension to linebacker Jonathan Vilma -- for their role in Bountygate.
Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley was one of several players who voiced displeasure after National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the suspensions.
"Vilma suspended a whole yr FOR PLAYING FOOTBALL???? Cmon man!!!!!," Woodley wrote on Twitter.
Outside linebacker James Harrison, who has been fined and suspended by the league for illegal hits, tweeted, "Ridiculous, and nobody really sees why the punishments have been so severe over the past 3 4 years! Lawsuits and 18 games???"
Safety Ryan Clark played for the Washington Redskins when Gregg Williams, who was suspended indefinitely without pay for orchestrating the bounty scandal with the Saints, was their defensive coordinator. Williams is the defensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams.
"Wonder why the team got the least penalties in Bounty Gate! Think about who elects & rewarded the commish, it's the owners of the teams!" the safety wrote on Twitter.
Vilma was one of four players identified as the ringleader of the bounty program that financially rewarded teammates for taking out or injuring star players on the opposing team. He was given the harshest penalty -- a one-year suspension -- for his role.
Also suspended were defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (eight games), defensive end Will Smith (four games) and linebacker Scott Fujita (three games). Fujita now plays for the Cleveland Browns.
Responding on Twitter to a question about whether other teams condone similar actions, Harrison wrote, "I can't say that every team does that cause we don't and I haven't played for any other team."
Gerry Dulac: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @gerrydulac. First Published May 2, 2012 9:15 PM