Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 7/3/12

NEW YORK - APRIL 22: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is interviewed by Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets for the 'Ocho Cinco New Network' on the red carpet during the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

In a move that will surprise nobody, commissioner Roger Goodell has upheld the suspensions of four players -- Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, and Will Smith -- who were involved in the Saints' now-infamous 'bounty' scandal.

Goodell -- rather long-windedly -- explained his ruling in a letter released by the NFL.

“Throughout this entire process, including your appeals, and despite repeated invitations and encouragement to do so, none of you has offered any evidence that would warrant reconsideration of your suspensions," Goodell said in a letter to the players. "Instead, you elected not to participate meaningfully in the appeal process. Although you claimed to have been ‘wrongfully accused with insufficient evidence,' your lawyers elected not to ask a single question of the principal investigators, both of whom were present at the hearing (as your lawyers had requested); you elected not to testify or to make any substantive statement, written or oral, in support of your appeal; you elected not to call a single witness to support your appeal; and you elected not to introduce a single exhibit addressing the merits of your appeal.

"Instead, your lawyers raised a series of jurisdictional and procedural objections that generally ignore the CBA, in particular its provisions governing ‘conduct detrimental' determinations."

Vilma is suspended for the entire 2012 season. Hargrove, received an eight-game ban, while Smith (four games) and Fujita (three games) escaped with lighter discipline.

What is surprising, however, is that Goodell left the door open for each player to reduce their suspensions.

"While this decision constitutes my final and binding determination under the CBA, I of course retain the inherent authority to reduce a suspension should facts be brought to my attention warranting the exercise of that discretion," Goodell wrote. "The record confirms that each of you was given multiple chances to meet with me to present your side of the story. You are each still welcome to do so."

At this point, though, it would seem like a fruitless plan of action. It's obvious the commish wanted to make an example out of the supposed perpetrators, especially Vilma, who recently sued Goodell for defamation of character. While he is known for granting second chances, this decision is highly likely to stick.

The only thing we know for sure is this saga is far from over.

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