NFL Bountygate Player Suspensions Lifted
After months of drama, investigations and posing to the media, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has seemingly put to rest the league's bounty case against specific current and former New Orleans Saints players. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello broke news Tuesday afternoon that Tagliabue has vacated all player suspensions related to the Bountygate investigations.
On his Twitter account, Aiello broke the news by saying, “Tagliabue affirms factual findings of Commissioner Goodell concludes Hargrove, Smith, Vilma 'engaged in conduct detrimental' and vacates all player discipline.” This action overturns varying suspensions to Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove.
Along with his own personal statement, Aiello also released a brief statement from Tagliabue himself:
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.
In summation, Tagliabue believes that all four players committed some kind of wrongdoing, but the players should not be punished for a team-wide culture of illegal bounties.