Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue threw some of his weight around Tuesday morning and overturned the suspensions levied by Roger Goodell for New Orleans Saints players who had been involved in the bounty case. Long story short, the suspensions that Goodell threw to Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita (and fines) now no longer exist.
Greg Aiello quoted on Twitter Tagliabue’s decision:
“Unlike Saints’ broad organizational misconduct, player appeals involve sharply focused issues of alleged individual player misconduct in several different aspects … My affirmation of Commissioner Goodell’s findings could certainly justify the issuance of fines. However, this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints’ organization.”
The NFL responded with a statement regarding Tagliabue’s decision to overturn Goodell’s ruling.
“We respect Mr. Tagliabue’s decision, which underscores the due process afforded players in NFL disciplinary matters. This matter has now been reviewed by Commissioner Goodell, two CBA grievance arbitrators, the CBA Appeals Panel, and Mr. Tagliabue as Commissioner Goodell’s designated appeals officer.
“The decisions have made clear that the Saints operated a bounty program in violation of league rules for three years, that the program endangered player safety, and that the commissioner has the authority under the CBA to impose discipline for those actions as conduct detrimental to the league.
“Strong action was taken in this matter to protect player safety and ensure that bounties would be eliminated from football.”