The Norman Transcript

National Sports

December 12, 2012

Saints players’ suspensions are overturned

NEW ORLEANS — Finding fault with nearly everyone tied to the New Orleans Saints’ bounty case, from the coaches to Roger Goodell, former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue tossed out the suspensions of four players Tuesday and condemned the team for obstructing the investigation.

In a surprising rejection of his successor’s overreaching punishments, Tagliabue wrote that he would “now vacate all discipline to be imposed upon” two current Saints, linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, and two players no longer with the club, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove.

Tagliabue essentially absolved Fujita, but did agree with Goodell’s finding that the other three players “engaged in conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.”

It was a ruling that allowed both sides to claim victory more than nine months after the league first made “Saints bounties” a household phrase: The NFL pointed to the determination that Goodell’s facts were right; the NFL Players Association issued a statement noting that Tagliabue said “previously issued discipline was inappropriate.”

Vilma, suspended by Goodell for the entire current season, and Smith, suspended four games, have been playing for the Saints while their appeals were pending. Fujita is on injured reserve; Hargrove is not with a team.

Tagliabue, appointed by Goodell to oversee a second round of player appeals, criticized the Saints as an organization that fostered bad behavior and tried to impede the investigation into what the NFL said was a performance pool designed to knock targeted opponents out of games from 2009 to 2011, with thousands of dollars in payouts.

A “culture” that promoted tough talk and cash incentives for hits to injure opponents — one key example was Vilma’s offer of $10,000 to any teammate who knocked Brett Favre out of the NFC championship game at the end of the 2009 season — existed in New Orleans, according to Tagliabue, who also wrote that “Saints’ coaches and managers led a deliberate, unprecedented and effective effort to obstruct the NFL’s investigation.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Cards pitching shuts down Brewers again

    MILWAUKEE — Shelby Miller struck out seven and allowed three hits over six innings, and Mark Ellis had two RBIs in his return from the disabled list to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 6-1 win Tuesday night over the Milwaukee Brewers. ...

    April 16, 2014

  • Commissioner calls replay start ‘remarkable’

    NEW YORK — Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says the sport’s new replay system is working well despite a few problems during its first two weeks....

    April 16, 2014

  • Fielder finally goes deep as Rangers shut out Mariners

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Prince Fielder and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit back-to-back homers, Robbie Ross limited Seattle to five singles in seven-plus innings and the Texas Rangers beat the Mariners 5-0 Tuesday night....

    April 16, 2014

  • Warriors trying to move on without Bogut

    OAKLAND, Calif. — Go small or go home....

    April 16, 2014

  • White Sox wear Boston Strong on 1-year anniversary

    CHICAGO — The Chicago White Sox have paid tribute to victims of the Boston Marathon bombing before their game against the Red Sox....

    April 16, 2014

  • Hot goalie syndrome

    The NHL playoffs have arrived, which means it’s time for the goalies to get going....

    April 16, 2014

  • Musings from the Masters

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — The moment doesn’t get much bigger than this — a 20-foot putt on the 18th green Sunday at Augusta National for the win. Too bad this wasn’t the Masters....

    April 16, 2014

  • Green jacket and golden moment for Bubba Watson

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — For all the crazy stunts Bubba Watson does for fun, the green jacket was off limits....

    April 15, 2014

  • Lynn, Cardinals snap Brewers’ 9-game win streak

    Associated Press MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers’ nine-game winning streak was snapped Monday night when Lance Lynn struck out 11 in seven innings and Jon Jay hit a three-run homer for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4-0 victory. Lynn ...

    April 15, 2014

  • Evans, Pelicans stun Thunder 101-89

    NEW ORLEANS — Tyreke Evans scored a career-high 41 points to go with nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped an eight-game skid by shocking the playoff-bound Thunder 101-89 on Monday night....

    April 15, 2014

Video
Facebook