New York, NY (Sports Network) - Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced his ruling in the New Orleans Saints bounty case and has vacated all player discipline previously issued by current commissioner Roger Goodell.
Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Scott Fujita were all suspended by Goodell in May for their roles in the bounty program from 2009-2011. Vilma had been suspended for the entire 2012 season, while Hargrove was originally given an eight-game penalty. Smith was banned for four games and Fujita was slapped with a three-game suspension.
The suspensions were overturned by an appeals panel in September, then re- issued by Goodell in October. Another appeal led to Tagliabue's appointment, and he decided to overturn the suspensions after reviewing the case.
Tagliabue, in a statement released Tuesday, affirmed the league's findings in the investigation, the results of which were first released back in March, but determined the Saints' organization deserved more of the blame and not the players.
Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entire 2012 season and then-defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely for their roles in the program.
More to follow.