Originally posted on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 12/11/12

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has made his ruling on the suspensions and fines for Saints players as a result of the NFL's Bountygate investigation, and the news isn't good for Roger Goodell: all of the penalties for individual players have been vacated. Greg Aiello of the NFL's PR office has the details, but here's the direct statement from Tagliabue. 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. Having reviewed the testimony very carefully, including documentary evidence that is at the center of the conflict, and having assessed the credibility of the four central witnesses on these matters, I find there is more than enough evidence to support Commissioner Goodell's findings that Mr. Vilma offered such a bounty (on Brett Favre). This is huge for the Saints players affected by the Goodell's punishments, and will likely be a huge boon for Jonathan Vilma's defamtion lawsuit against Goodell. The NFL's statement in response was terse. "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." Essentially, Tagliabue ruled that the fault was with the Saints organization as opposed to the players, and that the players were merely pawns in the game being played by New Orleans coaches.

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Beckham stared straight at eclipse, can still see his 'haters'

LeBron downplays Griffin's comments about him going to NY

Broncos coach calls Siemian 'permanent' starting QB

Report: MLB threatened to fine umps over protest wristbands

Mark Davis: Raiders have won fight for Los Angeles

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mayweather reportedly furious Bieber is distancing himself

Trainer blasts Antonio Brown after parting ways with WR

Anquan Boldin says he is completely done with football

Report: Fowler charged with three misdemeanors for alleged attack

Report: Goodell close to signing five-year extension with NFL

Report: Pacers accuse Lakers of tampering with Paul George

The 'Anquan Boldin calls it a career' quiz

Getaway Day: The playing field is leveling off as the wild-card chase takes shape

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

Best of Yardbarker: NFL goes in on Ezekiel Elliott, NFLPA

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

Box Score 8/18: Reds and Cubs claw through a 23-run game

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

Box Score 8/17: Interleague games bring the fireworks

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

The 'Anquan Boldin calls it a career' quiz

Getaway Day: The playing field is leveling off as the wild-card chase takes shape

Sports & Politics Intersect: Echoes of Charlottesville ripple across the sports world

BIG3 Playoff Preview: Can anyone stop Trilogy?

The 'Bye bye to the Beast Incarnate?' quiz

Why the SEC is not the best football conference anymore

The 'M! E! S! S! Mess! Mess! Mess!' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Giancarlo Stanton won't stop hitting homers

NFL shifts blame for Zeke suspension to police and NFLPA

The 'Forget Calvin, bring back Jerry' quiz

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker