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New Orleans Saints have lost their appeal against the NFL's 'pay-for-pain' bounty punishments.
A three-year investigation by the NFL found that Saints' defensive players received cash "bounty" payments for "cart-offs" and "knockouts" - plays on which the opposing players were forced to leave the game.
Last month the league fined Saints $500,000 and two second-round draft picks, suspended head coach Sean Payton for one year, general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games and assistant coach Joe Vitt for six games.
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who was at the heart of the pay-for-pain system, did not appeal his indefinite suspension.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the punishments for the appellants.
Goodell said that the club and the individuals would be expected to co-operate 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.
At the conclusion of their suspensions, the commissioner will review the status of each of the three individuals to determine their eligibility for reinstatement.