Originally written December 11, 2012 on Down and Distance:
Super_bowl_xliv_1429
Paul Tagliabue has lifted all suspensions related to the Saints bounty scandal. (Credit: Associated Press) Four players that played for the New Orleans Saints had been previously suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell for their roles in the Saints pay-for-injury scandal led by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Now after fighting for a fair and open appeal, current Saints Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith and former Saints Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita will not miss any games at all. Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Goodell’s predecessor who was assigned to rule on the player suspensions, vacated all player suspensions related to New Orleans’ bounty system today. Goodell had initially suspended Vilma for the entire 2012 season, while Smith was suspended four games, Hargrove eight games, and Fujita three games. Hargrove and Fujita successfully fought their rulings to lower their suspensions to two games and one game, respectively. League spokesman Greg Aiello released this 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.” The ramifications of Tagliabue’s decisions are enormous. Beyond the fact that he concurred with Goodell’s collected evidence, Tagliabue essentially said that the evidence was not enough to warrant more than fines. The greater part of the blame in Tagliabue’s eyes was rooted in the coaches and organization. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season and former defensive coordinator and bounty ringleader Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely. General manager Mickey Loomis was suspended eight games, and assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended six games. The league could potentially fight back against Tagliabue’s ruling, as Goodell has done everything in his power since succeeding Tagliabue in 2006 to make player safety the utmost priority. But in the wake of Kansas City’s Jovan Belcher’s murder-suicide two weeks ago and Dallas’ Josh Brent’s intoxicated manslaughter of temmate Jerry Brown this past weekend, the league doesn’t need another issue on its plate at this point in time. Mike Garofalo of USA Today also reported that for the first time today, the players’ attorneys were allowed to review every document that Goodell and the league had collected throughout the bounty probe. The documents totaled almost 50,000 pages. For the Saints organization, and for NFL fans everywhere, a collective sigh can now be issued that the bounty investigation is (hopefully) done with for good. Follow us on Twitter @DownandDistance Down and Distance Columnist - Joe Ray @jpray_SKThe post Breaking: Paul Tagliabue lifts all Saints player suspensions appeared first on DOWN & DISTANCE.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Royals beat A's in extras, win first playoff game since '85

Mark Davis: Raiders head coaching job will be 'enticing'

Fan on Craigslist offers Nats playoff tickets for threesome

Brady snubs rookie Garoppolo after touchdown pass

Cung Le suspended for failed HGH test

FCC Chairman: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brain study finds 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Tony Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

Eli on Geno Smith: If fans yell at you, you probably deserve it

49ers players come out in support of Jim Harbaugh

Raiders reportedly expected to make a run at Jon Gruden

FCC unanimously ends sports blackout rule

MLB.com posts wrong story saying A's won game

WATCH: Brett Favre in new nose hair trimmer commercial

WATCH: Michigan students protest, call for AD to be fired

Marlins president: We're not trading Giancarlo Stanton

Heckling Knicks fan suing team over ejection

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe: Iggy Azalea has had better career than Swaggy P

College football's post-Week 5 playoff projection

Oregon to don pink-themed unis for breast cancer awareness

Is DeMarco Murray the best RB in the NFL?

WATCH: TBS sends up 'Boom Goes the Dynamite' with promo

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

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!

WATCH: Brett Favre in new commercial

Brady snubs rookie after TD pass

FCC: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Could Jon Gruden return to Oakland?

Marlins: We're not trading Stanton

Study: 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Heckling fan sues Knicks over ejection

Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe chooses Iggy over Swaggy P

Is DeMarco Murray the NFL's best RB?

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.