The league found the Saints guilty of the infractions after a lengthy investigation and documented clearly to the letter that rules had been blatenly breached by the Saints:
The NFL has a longstanding rule prohibiting “Non-Contract Bonuses.” Non-contract bonuses violate both the NFL Constitution and By-Laws and the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Clubs are advised every year of this rule in a memo from the commissioner. Citing Sections 9.1(C)(8), and 9.3(F) and (G) of the Constitution and By-Laws, the memo for the 2011 season stated:
“No bonus or award may directly or indirectly be offered, promised, announced, or paid to a player for his or his team’s performance against a particular team or opposing player or a particular group thereof. No bonuses or awards may be offered or paid for on field misconduct (for example, personal fouls to or injuries inflicted on opposing players).”
“Our investigation began in early 2010 when allegations were first made that Saints players had targeted opposing players, including Kurt Warner of the Cardinals and Brett Favre of the Vikings,” Commissioner Goodell said. “Our security department interviewed numerous players and other individuals. At the time, those interviewed denied that any such program existed and the player that made the allegation retracted his earlier assertions. As a result, the allegations could not be proven. We recently received significant and credible new information and the investigation was re-opened during the latter part of the 2011 season.”
Based on the recent "Spygate" ruling against the New England Patriots, in which the Patriots forfeited a first round pick and fines were levied against both the team ($250k) and head coach Bill Belichick ($500k) this disciplinary action could cost the Saints at least one top draft pick in the NFL Draft next month.
The Giants, who draft 32nd this year, cannot move up in the draft as a result of any penalty or sanction the league may render. The Saints do not have a first round pick in this year's draft - they traded it to New England last year in order to move up to get Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.
New Orleans would have drafted 27th this April, but that pick - No. 27 - is now owned by the Patriots.
None of this benefits the Giants outside of the Saints being weakened by the sanctions. They are certain to be without a second round pick this year and a first rounder next year....from the NFL....
"Commissioner Goodell has advised the Saints that he will hold further proceedings to determine the discipline to be assessed against individuals and the club. This will include conferring with the NFL Players Association and individual player leaders regarding appropriate discipline and remedial steps.
The discipline could include fines and suspensions and, in light of the competitive nature of the violation, forfeiture of draft choices. Any discipline may be appealed as provided for in the Constitution and By-Laws and Collective Bargaining Agreement. Any appeal would be heard and decided by the commissioner.
Commissioner Goodell also advised the Saints that he is retaining jurisdiction and reserving his authority to impose further discipline if additional information comes to his attention."