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4 Saints player Suspensions Overturned On Appeal

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  • 4 Saints player Suspensions Overturned On Appeal

    Saints player suspensions overturned on appeal;

    A three-member panel has overturned the suspensions handed down to four players by the NFL in the bounty case, and all four suspended players -- New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, defensive end Will Smith, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and at-large defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove -- are free to play this NFL season. It is a crushing defeat for the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    Hargrove had been released by the Green Bay Packers on August 24, but his availability could have the Packers re-thinking that decision. Vilma had been suspended for the entire 2012 season, while Fujita was hit with a three-game ban and Smith was set to be out four games.

    The original appeal ruling, given by arbiter Stephen Burbank, opined that Goodell was within his authority to suspend the four players for alleged "pay-to-injure" schemes and other pay-for-performance actions. Per the panel ruling, Goodell can re-suspend the players if there is concrete evidence of a pay-to-injure scheme, but he will have to be much more proactive about actually producing evidence this time. The panel did reportedly rule that there was evidence of pay-to-injure during the 2009-2011 timeline, but what evidence that may have been is still unknown.

    "Consistent with the panel's decision, Commissioner Goodell will, as directed, make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed for violating the league's pay-for-performance/bounty rule," the NFL said in a statement. "Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend."

    Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported that while Goodell will work to rule again, he will not do so before Week 1 of the regular season.

    If Goodell wanted to, he could say that all the suspensions were solely for pay-to-injure, and re-implement all of them as they were. and it's important to keep in mind that if the players are unhappy with the new suspensions, they can seek legal redress in the New Orleans court of Judge Helen G. Berrigan. Berrigan, who recently heard arguments in the NFL's appeal of Vilma's defamation suit against Goodell said that she wanted more information from the league, but that she would likely wait for the panel ruling before making a decision of her own.

    The Saints are the biggest winners here, as they will get Smith back against Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. Smith is the Saints' most effective pass rusher, and under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, New Orleans' defense is not expected to blitz as often as they did under former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who is serving an indefinite suspension for his part in the bounty scandal. Vilma is currently rehabbing an injured knee, and Fujita is a depth player -- albeit a valuable one -- at this point in his career.

    Saints coaches and executives, including head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis, and assistant coach Joe Vitt, will remain suspended at this time because they were not part of the appeal filed by the players.

  • #2
    GoodeLOLOL
    Click banner for tradelist

    Dan LeFevour PC 193/283

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    • #3
      I wish this story was over, but I'm sure the league will appeal.
      Trading for all Cleveland teams in Cleveland uniforms, Cleveland minor league affiliates & Columbus Bluejackets

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      • #4
        Goodell needs an enema.......

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        • #5
          Roger Goodell just got Brauned.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by YankeeCollector View Post
            Roger Goodell just got Brauned.

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