The NFL has re-issued the suspensions to the four players involved in the New Orleans Saints Bounty Gate investigation.
Jonathan Vilma will be suspended a full season again,
Scott Fujita will be suspended three games again but it was reduced to one,
Will Smith will be suspended four games again and,
Anthony Hargrove will be suspended eight games again, but it was reduced to seven.
Those suspensions were overturned over a month ago by an arbitor who claimed that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell went down the wrong path in trying to investigate and suspend the four along with Saints coaches Sean Payton, Gregg Williams, and Joe Vitt. If Goodell were to follow proper protocol, the suspensions would have stuck and the arbitor intimated as much in his ruling.
Goodell resubmitted and, voila!
Here's the release from the league that was shared with Vilma:
“At our meeting, you confirmed that cart-offs and knockouts were part of a broader program in place among the Saints’ defensive players. You confirmed that these terms referred to plays in which an opposing player has to leave the game for one or more plays. You confirmed that, as Coach Vitt testified, an opposing player’s need for smelling salts under a trainer’s care was a consequence of the kind that the program sought to achieve and for which players were offered cash rewards from the incentive pool.
“I also find that you engaged in conduct detrimental by offering a substantial financial incentive to any member of the defensive unit who knocked Brett Favre out of the Saints’ 2009 NFC playoff game against the Vikings. (There is also credible evidence that you made a similar pledge regarding Kurt Warner in the immediately preceding playoff game against the Cardinals, but whether you made multiple pledges of that kind does not matter for purposes of the discipline that I have decided to impose.)"
The NFLPA, which probably, will appeal rather quickly (again) came back with this:
"For more than six months, the NFL has ignored the facts, abused the process outlined in our collective bargaining agreement and failed to produce evidence that the players intended to injure anyone, ever. The only evidence that exists is the League’s gross violation of fair due process, transparency and impartiality during this process. Truth and fairness have been the casualties of the league’s refusal to admit that it might have made a mistake."
The NFLPA has 72 hours to file their appeal and the players still, presumably, can participate in team activities until a final verdict is reached...
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