Paul Tagliabue repeals Saints bounty suspensions
In the latest chapter of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue revoked all player suspensions and fines handed down by Roger Goodell, Tuesday.
Tagliabue had been appointed by Goodell for a second round of appeals after the players claimed that Goodell could not be impartial following the initial process.
Though Jonathan Vilma’s year long-suspension, and Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith’s shorter suspensions have been removed, Tagliabue backed his successor on the suspensions and fines given to the team’s personnel, including head coach Sean Payton, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and general manager Mickey Loomis.
Payton was suspended earlier in 2012 for the entire season while Loomis was given an eight-game ban and a $500,000 fine, according to USA Today. Williams has been suspended indefinitely.
While Tagliabue noted he did find evidence of a player-performance pool that could have merited fines, the New York Times reports that he also believed the organization “contaminated” the case and that the penalties handed down by Goodell were in turn too “harsh.”
According to ESPN, the original penalties issued by Goodell were thrown out by an appeals court just before the regular season. Goodell was able to reissue punishment, but Tagliabue’s decision Tuesday has removed those as well.
None of the players missed any games due to their suspensions because of the impending appeals, though Vilma and Fujita have missed time because of injury.