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Appeals panel overturns bounty suspensions

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In the end, Judge Berrigan didn’t have to issue a ruling at all.

An internal appeals panel has overturned the bounty suspensions imposed on the players, a source with knowledge of the decision tells PFT.  The development was first reported by Jim Trotter of SI.com.

Victory is mine!!!!” Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said, via Twitter.

Indeed it is, for now.  Unlike any ruling that may have been issued by Judge Berrigan, the ruling from the internal appeals panel, which overturned a prior decision from arbitrator Richard Burbank, is final and binding.  The league has no recourse — unless the league chooses to file a lawsuit attacking the outcome of the internal arbitration.  (Which is what the players had been trying to do before Judge Berrigan.)

As to Judge Berrigan, she may still issue a ruling adopting and enforcing the outcome of the internal appeal, giving federal credibility to the decision of the panel.

We’ve just received the decision from the panel.  We’ll be posting something that explains the ruling in further detail.

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142 Responses to “Appeals panel overturns bounty suspensions”
  1. connorchew says: Sep 7, 2012 3:42 PM

    does this include sean peyton coming back as well?

  2. voiceofreasonsays says: Sep 7, 2012 3:42 PM

    OK Vilma. Victory is yours…until Sunday when RGIII and the Redskins march into New Orleans and snatch it away.

  3. flapjackdaddy says: Sep 7, 2012 3:42 PM

    Coaches and GM are under different rules, though, I guess?

  4. ronin36 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:43 PM

    What is this “internal appeals panel?”

    I don’t recal hearing about it? What is it? How does it work?

    More information please?

  5. suhdidntstompanyone says: Sep 7, 2012 3:45 PM

    What a crock

  6. bigperm33 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:45 PM

    Dear Roger Goodell – You lose, you massive egomaniac. You failed. By your terrible handling of this situation, you managed to keep a bad story in the news now going on 6 months, and now, you have lost. I would hope those who own NFL teams will take note of this, see how poorly Goodell handled this entire situation, and begin to think about getting a new commissioner. Not that this one incident means he should lose his job, but because this one incident is entirely an example of just how bad at his job the arrogant Goodell is. I know there is no chance of that, because no matter how bad Goodell is, he rakes in cash for these owners hand over fist. And that is all that matters. But, as we prepare to watch replacement refs because Goodell has to squeeze every cent out of everything, with no regard to the good of the game, add this to his list of failures.

  7. momsasaynt says: Sep 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    So They got away with everything. Justice is grand.

  8. effosugoblue says: Sep 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    This is exactly why GODell shouldn’t have all the discipline power. A fair 3rd party panel needs to oversee the process.

  9. jkjdawg1 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    Unbelievable. So i guess it’s cool to just go for the kill shot, instead of actually playing the game the way it was intended. I wouldn’t want to be a QB right now.

  10. seaner44 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    Pay for injuries has now been approved. Slippery slope NFL slippery slope!

  11. effjohntaylornorelation says: Sep 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    To the cheaters go the spoils! I hope the IRS is taking notes.

  12. goldenperspective says: Sep 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    If i never read another article about this, it will be too soon. Congrats to the Saints fans.

  13. youarewrongandthisiswhy says: Sep 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    Yawn…..Saints D is horrible, now up to mediocre at best.

  14. cosanostra71 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:47 PM

    Lame. Guess Vilma and co. will be able to get away with breaking the rules with no consequences. I used to like the Saints, but I have to say I’ll be rooting against them as long as Vilma is playing for them.

  15. cags777 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:47 PM

    Extremely disappointed and a real explanation is needed. And now that Jonathan Vilma is acts like such a jerk about it on Twitter makes me hope and pray the Saints lose and lose big this season.

  16. succulentnipples says: Sep 7, 2012 3:48 PM

    It’s all so funny.

  17. daaabears says: Sep 7, 2012 3:48 PM

    Huh?

  18. timsmooth says: Sep 7, 2012 3:48 PM

    GEAUX SAINTS!!!! Lol Victory is mine!!!!” Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said, via Twitter.

  19. musicman495 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:48 PM

    Well the league signed the CBA, and they should just shut up and accept what they already agreed to…

    Hah!

  20. gisellichek says: Sep 7, 2012 3:48 PM

    Just the players? Do the coaches/GM get vindicated?

  21. silvernblackpa says: Sep 7, 2012 3:49 PM

    Roger Goodell is flabbergasted

  22. basballguy says: Sep 7, 2012 3:49 PM

    Can you break this down for those of us who don’t understand a lick of this?

  23. r0b1b0y says: Sep 7, 2012 3:49 PM

    NFL Commissioner (2006-Current) *Roger Goodell

  24. whitemike55 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:49 PM

    And these appeal judges reside in which state? Lousianna? Enough said……

  25. pmd5319 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    Who Dat

  26. DubZ480 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    Your move Commish!

  27. doe22us says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    This is all too confusing .

  28. agentpyro says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    If I had a nickel for every time Roger Goodell was terrible at his job, I’d break his collarbone with a shovel.

  29. dryzzt23 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    Yet again, the inmates are allowed to run the asylum.

    It is now open season on every player, there is no way to stop players from taking bounties now that the legal system has justified the activity. I set the first bounty on Drew Brees at $25,000.

    None of these players had better ever sue to NFL over concussions b/c they know better and they should reap what they sew.

  30. zn0rseman says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    So basically, the Saints stole a Super Bowl from the Vikings and their players intentionally tried (and succeeded) in using dirty play to injure other players, and the only punishment is that their head coach has to sit at home for 16 games?

    Wow.

  31. cheers4ablumpkin says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    Congrats vilma. Goodell is Probally so mad right now. You derservr it my friend

  32. dvoxrox says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    Ok, I’m slightly a tard to the law and rules, and this is not biased for or against, but how/can/will this affect the coaches suspensions?

  33. dv5454 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:50 PM

    I’m just excited we all get to watch games again. We can all agree on that.

  34. purplecitybirdgang52 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    I wuld love to see the look on godell face

  35. sb44champs says: Sep 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    THANK YOU for doing the RIGHT thing!!!!!!!!

  36. binkystevens says: Sep 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    You’ve got to be kidding me!

  37. codycaillet says: Sep 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    Who Dat Goddell!

  38. eastcoastninerfan says: Sep 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    Wow!

  39. khuxford says: Sep 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    The first step towards justice. Congrats, Saints fans, from a Jets fan.

  40. truthfactory says: Sep 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    Congrats to the players on their victory… Wonder what this means for Sean Payton????

  41. 6thsense79 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:52 PM

    Congrats Saints fans. Between the collusion case with the Boys ans Skins and this “bounty” gate I don’t see how anyone takes anything the Commissioner at face value anymore.

  42. blacknole08 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:52 PM

    Wow! Didn’t think this would happen anytime soon. This will only fire up Saints fans and that team even more. That’s dangerous for the rest of the NFL.

  43. bleedinpurple says: Sep 7, 2012 3:52 PM

    What a joke.

  44. gsr1191 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:52 PM

    Never thought I would see the day that this happened!

    Wow!

  45. gus1824 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:53 PM

    It the beauty of the game ,{if you can’t take the heat get out the kitchen}it says it all if you can’t take the hit with there pay you shouldn’t be playing real football.

  46. dmc1542 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:53 PM

    What about the coaches?

  47. ecupatsfan12 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:53 PM

    Drew Brees finally got his explanation!

  48. irodex says: Sep 7, 2012 3:53 PM

    Goodell looks like such a clown.

  49. geauxsaintsforever says: Sep 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    Vindication is so sweet. Now it’s time to go to work. Who Dat!!

  50. kattykathy says: Sep 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    Mike please explain the makeup of the appeals panel, and how this will affect any attempt by Goodell to punish the players.

    What avenues(if any) does the league have to get around this decision?

  51. ern215 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    yes!!!

  52. radrntn says: Sep 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    love it…can’t wait to see all te responses from all those who thought the commissioner was right, and talked smacked about these guys. Good for them….not a saints fan, but am all about this commissioner coming off of his high horse by getting a dose of reality, and ego in check.

  53. kmaddy17 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    Still a bunch of cheaters in my book! Can’t wait til they come to Tampa so I can spit on all their dirty cheap players!

  54. brenenostler says: Sep 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    You’ve gotta be kidding me. They may as well lift the suspensions on Loomis, Payton, Williams, and Vitt too.

  55. cheers4ablumpkin says: Sep 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    What does this mean for the coaches?

  56. proudwhodat says: Sep 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    Let the crying begin.

  57. contra74 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    They are still guilty for what they did.

  58. myspaceyourface says: Sep 7, 2012 3:55 PM

    In your face Godell

  59. sportsmeccabi says: Sep 7, 2012 3:56 PM

    Free at last! Free at last! God almighty, we are free at last!

  60. louisianapacker says: Sep 7, 2012 3:56 PM

    So, the ruling by Goodell now needs to be appealed to the same 2 person appeal panel that governs on field activity. I wounder how long that process will take?

  61. madmanleo says: Sep 7, 2012 3:56 PM

    Well then, thats something. I think the NFL owners might have a little chat with Goodell.

  62. louisianapacker says: Sep 7, 2012 3:57 PM

    Suspensions will be on holod until that appeal is completed?

  63. karlsummers says: Sep 7, 2012 3:58 PM

    By all rights then, Coach Payton should be on the sideline as well!!!

  64. steelers4385 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:58 PM

    Good. I hate the NFL and its whiney politics.

  65. thenewenglandpatriots12 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:58 PM

    If every players ban was reduced to half its length, that would be more than fair for both sides. Coaches bans should remain though

  66. dalucks says: Sep 7, 2012 3:58 PM

    I am sure a lot of people are disappointed that this case does not get to go to court. I, personally, really wanted to see Roger Goodell testify under oath about this case so we can finally get all the details and hopefully the truth about what really happened.

  67. muathjam21 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:58 PM

    Uhh…what?

  68. cardiovascularendurance says: Sep 7, 2012 3:58 PM

    Does this include coaches as well??

  69. geauxjay says: Sep 7, 2012 3:58 PM

    See? Judge Berrigan didn’t have to “search for an excuse” after all. All you people who trashed the Saints for 5 months now owe them an apology.

  70. marthisdil says: Sep 7, 2012 3:59 PM

    League has recourse. Tell the referees to eject the players as soon as they step on the field. Technically they are on the team…and still get a paycheck, just don’t get to play.

    Interesting that there’s no details on who this “panel” was.

  71. kattykathy says: Sep 7, 2012 3:59 PM

    I love the picture of Goodell attached to the story.

  72. woefulsoxfan says: Sep 7, 2012 4:00 PM

    The league should throw out the coaching suspensions, too. This whole thing has been a PR disaster for the league, and they should wash their hands of it and put it behind them.

  73. asseenonokra says: Sep 7, 2012 4:00 PM

    Love Vilma, but get ready for Big Willie Style!

  74. Loose Changeup says: Sep 7, 2012 4:01 PM

    And Vilma didn’t even have to drop his defamation lawsuit

  75. olympiacham says: Sep 7, 2012 4:01 PM

    These guys got killed in the press. Yet another lesson to not rush to judgement…like goddell and company did. Definitely a chink in the NFL armor.

  76. mwindle1973 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:01 PM

    Anyone who can answer this?? I thought this appeal was solely about whether Goodell had the authority to be arbitrator for this case. I was under the impression that winning the appeal would only result in the suspensions being lifted. But also in the case being heard by a different arbitrator, and punishments possibly being doled out again in the future. ANybody got any understanding of how this is going to move forward form here. I’ve been all over the web and no media source is speculating what comes next.

  77. reprob8 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:01 PM

    i DEF don’t support “bounties” on players, but Goodell over-reached with the punishments!

    now, can we get these replacement refs off the field???

  78. daysend564 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:01 PM

    Players don’t have to listen to arbitration hearings, why does the NFL.

    Time to move it back to court!

  79. stevecmh says: Sep 7, 2012 4:01 PM

    This outcome is highly suspicious.

  80. stephenolszewski says: Sep 7, 2012 4:01 PM

    I guess you can say the NFL really dropped the ball on this……..

  81. spicymudbugs says: Sep 7, 2012 4:02 PM

    Exactly. Goodell had nothing, has nothing and soon will be without a job.
    Even the NFL can’t convict without evidence

  82. dannyreneau says: Sep 7, 2012 4:02 PM

    i’m just glad its over.

  83. vikes8480 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:02 PM

    Lame. Is this over yet?

  84. harrisryan says: Sep 7, 2012 4:02 PM

    Oh boy, time to eat some crow Roger. I dont see how the commish comes back from this.

    Just wondering if this opens the door for Coach Payton?

  85. ultimatesaintsfan says: Sep 7, 2012 4:03 PM

    Finally some people with with the sense to see through this witch hunt Godell is on. You cannot state your stance on an issue and be an unbias and fair judge over a case like this. This is a good day for the NFL and the players!

  86. dino2997 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:04 PM

    Unbelievable. What is the validity of overturning the suspensions? This is becoming a joke.

  87. booker1974 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:04 PM

    Justice prevails!

  88. cowboyhater says: Sep 7, 2012 4:04 PM

    Ok panel, now that we got that out of the way, let’s work on overturning that ridiculous $36 million salary cap penalty issued out to the redskins.

  89. bkh405 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:05 PM

    Theater of the absurd. Good job to ALL parties involved.

  90. braven4evr says: Sep 7, 2012 4:05 PM

    it’s time to hear from those pro owner fans. this time it wasn’t the courts who found that commissioner goofball is full of sh!t…

  91. mvp43 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:05 PM

    Travesty!!

    This judge has opened up a whole new can of worms. So basically what she’s saying is that the agreement signed by the league and the players alike has no meanng.

    The players agreed to give Goodell this authority.

    Arrg………

  92. geauxsaintsforever says: Sep 7, 2012 4:05 PM

    kattykathy says:
    Sep 7, 2012 3:59 PM
    I love the picture of Goodell attached to the story.

    _________

    Best line of the day by far! Who Dat!

  93. sterilizecromartie says: Sep 7, 2012 4:05 PM

    Wait what?! How is this possible?!? Those Saints players were basically PAID ASSASSINS hired to KILL Brett Favre and Kurt Warner!!

    J/K. Just fondly remembering how most people first reacted to the bounty story and how much of a joke it is today. NICE VILMA!!

  94. datageek94 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:06 PM

    There were so many real questions about the ‘evidence’ of wrongdoing, Goodell should have gracefully dropped the whole matter a long time ago.

    Coaches should also be reinstated.

    And let’s get the regular refs back so we can complain about THEIR calls as usual.

  95. biggestsaintsfanever says: Sep 7, 2012 4:06 PM

    Wow !! Now maybe all the MORONS that stated the players should shut up and take their punishment will take their own advice !!!

  96. ravensaintsfan says: Sep 7, 2012 4:06 PM

    We were right a along,!!!! where are all the people who said the players agreed to the CBA and need to follow it? It is now 100% factual that the NFL was the one not following the CBA

  97. kreedos says: Sep 7, 2012 4:07 PM

    Heavy, heavy indeed. Take that Goodell! Right on the chin…

  98. packhawk04 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:07 PM

    When the current labor deal ends, it should take 5 minutes to agree on. Because even if you agree to it, just sue over something you agreed to but didnt like.

  99. amac0109 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:08 PM

    Good… Rodger made his point. Maybe this will slow down his power trip.

  100. geauxjay says: Sep 7, 2012 4:08 PM

    They are still guilty for what they did.

    _____________________________

    Prove it or shut up. This says otherwise.

  101. jtchernak says: Sep 7, 2012 4:09 PM

    So dumb man they did it wanted to be babies and took it all the way to court man get out of here just take the suspension

  102. ravensaintsfan says: Sep 7, 2012 4:09 PM

    This may lend more strength to Vilma’s defamation suit. Roger clearly over stepped his authority under the CBA and falsely accused the Saints of having a bounty. He also damaged the integrity of the game, by illegally preventing Saints players from practicing. He this week he deserves to be fired.

  103. kattykathy says: Sep 7, 2012 4:10 PM

    Doesn’t the picture look amazingly just like Roger?

    The dictator with the squinty, beady eyes, rubbing his hands together as he plots another evil smear/lie campaign

  104. imaginesuperbowlwin says: Sep 7, 2012 4:11 PM

    So, bountys will be allowed now? Since there’s apparently no punishment being dealt?

  105. truetrue85 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:11 PM

    I wonder how victorious he’ll feel after somebody goes low on him and pops his ACL. Just because you found a loophole back into the NFL, doesn’t mean the players have forgotten.

  106. rockthered1286 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:11 PM

    Saints fans-
    No need to insist that doubters eat crow here. Just because they lifted the ban does NOT mean the bounty never happened. It simply means the court didn’t see decisive evidence. Funny how the same Saints fans have no problem crucifying Big Ben for being a rapist with no evidence, or Ray Lewis for being a murderer with no evidence, or Chad Johnson headbutting his wife with no evidence, but feel like people owe the Saints an apology because there was no solid evidence? Child please.

  107. purpleguy says: Sep 7, 2012 4:12 PM

    On what basis were the suspensions lifted? It may be a procedural issue like the Ryan Braun MLB steroid issue in which everone knew he was guilty as hell, but got off on procedral crap. It is interesting, however, that the NFL’s argument that the NFLPA bargained/agreed the right for Goodell to be prosecutor, judge and jury, yet now is bound to follow the same arbitration procedural process without further appellate rights. What goes around comes around.

  108. csmit44 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:13 PM

    Roger Goodell wants an explanation…

    I slowly raise middle finger.

  109. peachyc39 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:13 PM

    To everyone that feels that the Saints are owed some type of apology…yeah hold your breath on that one….

  110. kidpresentable says: Sep 7, 2012 4:13 PM

    “See? Judge Berrigan didn’t have to “search for an excuse” after all. All you people who trashed the Saints for 5 months now owe them an apology.”

    Ah no we don’t. This isn’t a “Not Guilty” verdict, it’s a Goodell doesn’t have sole authority verdict. Punishments are still coming.

  111. emmonsh says: Sep 7, 2012 4:14 PM

    time for 1 of those teams that were targeted by the taints to break bree,s neck. would serve him right. gaurentee every player on the saints is a target for the other teams.

  112. mwindle1973 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:14 PM

    Does anyone commenting understand this is not over? All this decision stated was the infractions by the players did not fall under Godell’s authority, and this will go to the panel that hears appeals for onfield activities. The suspensions are lifted, but new punishments could be doled out at a later time.

  113. raideralex99 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:15 PM

    Why blame the players … If the refs make the call … There’s no problems.
    It’s the refs who should be suspended … Oh wait they are … I guess that’s why the Raiders had very very few penalties.

  114. cags777 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:15 PM

    geauxjay: “All you people who trashed the Saints for 5 months now owe them an apology.”

    Neither I nor anyone who has bashed the Saints and called them out for the bounties owe them or their fans any sort of apology whatsoever. I saw them playing with the intent to injure Brett Favre and Kurt Warner in the 2009 playoffs. Those were cheap, malicious hits that the NFL allowed them to get away with until more players began publicly voicing frustration about their dirty plays (Roman Harper cheapshotting Steve Smith in the endzone, Harper trying to twist the ankle of Adrian Peterson, etc.).

    The only thing I would fault the NFL on is only labeling four players instead of more. In this day and age and with all the tapes that were made available, not once did they go after Harper nor Remi Ayodele (the one who truly shouted, “GIVE ME MY MONEY!”). Hope the NFL appeals and allows Vilma to act like a bigger crybaby than Drew Brees.

    As for the coaches and GM, they are not a part of the CBA (as far as I know). Therefore, they would have to appeal their own cases separately. Also means Williams may never return to the NFL.

  115. DubZ480 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:15 PM

    Kill the head and the body will die!

  116. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Sep 7, 2012 4:16 PM

    as i have noted many times, the nfl was looking for cover for injury liability and went and found a scapegoat.

    goodell and the entire league administration lied over and over to try to make a bounty for performance into a bounty for injury case. everyone knows every locker room had the former; and the nfl hasn’t proved the latter.

    hope this panel rubbing Goodell’s nose in it will persuade him to cool his jets. all the nonsense coming out of the league office, like a franchise in london or the 18 game schedule make it look hypocritical at best, foolish at worst.

  117. jhorton83 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:25 PM

    mvp43 says:Sep 7, 2012 4:05 PM

    Travesty!!

    This judge has opened up a whole new can of worms. So basically what she’s saying is that the agreement signed by the league and the players alike has no meanng.

    The players agreed to give Goodell this authority.

    Arrg………
    ———————————————————-

    The judge did nothing. She hasn’t even made a ruling. The suspensions were overturned by the appeals panel. Try reading more closely.

  118. goldrush36 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:25 PM

    rockthered1286 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:11 PM

    Saints fans-
    No need to insist that doubters eat crow here. Just because they lifted the ban does NOT mean the bounty never happened. It simply means the court didn’t see decisive evidence. Funny how the same Saints fans have no problem crucifying Big Ben for being a rapist with no evidence, or Ray Lewis for being a murderer with no evidence, or Chad Johnson headbutting his wife with no evidence, but feel like people owe the Saints an apology because there was no solid evidence? Child please.
    ______________________________________

    Best post on here. The player suspensions were a reach and they only got off the hook because of vague evidence that was too hard to directly implicate specific players… but the coaches put the system in place. They shouldn’t get any reprieve at all

  119. 49ersgiants4life says: Sep 7, 2012 4:26 PM

    They got off because there was no real evidence it was Goodell who was judge jury and executioner, but he had no evidence that would be suitable for an actual court of law I love my niners but I’m glad Roger got some of his own medicine

  120. ravensaintsfan says: Sep 7, 2012 4:26 PM

    Roger should show up in New Orleans and apologize to the Saints Players and fans before the Saints Skins game. The commit Harakiri to protect the NFL shield.

  121. raideralex99 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:27 PM

    Sounds like everyone here is happy …. Let the bounties begin.

  122. ravensaintsfan says: Sep 7, 2012 4:32 PM

    kmaddy17 says: Sep 7, 2012 3:54 PM

    Can’t wait til they come to Tampa so I can spit on all their dirty cheap players!

    It’s well know the Tampa fans only swallow.

  123. realdealsteel says: Sep 7, 2012 4:35 PM

    Well, well, well,

    Where are all those posters who were constantly bashing the Saints and calling them cheaters??? LOL!!

    I told you that there was no on the field proof that the Saints were hurting people for money and the Arbitrator saw it the same way. The Saints were in the bottom quarter of teams that cause opposing teams injuries under Greg Williams. No proof whatsoever. But Hitler Goodall was just so determined on punishing someone unjustly. And now Goodall looks stupid and everyone is laughing at his tyrant actions.

  124. cags777 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:35 PM

    Since Saints fans are crowing about this decision, I hope they’re not whining if any team decides to put bounties on any Saints players this season. This is what you wanted. Don’t be mad if other teams give you a taste of your own medicine.

  125. winsaintswin says: Sep 7, 2012 4:36 PM

    The decision — which was made by a panel comprised of retired federal Judge Fern Smith of San Francisco, retired federal Judge Richard Howell of New York, and Georgetown professor James Oldham — clears Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and Saints defensive end Will Smith to play this weekend if their teams desire.

  126. fmwarner says: Sep 7, 2012 4:44 PM

    I never thought justice would be done, but I’m happy to be wrong.

    And for all of you who think this means bounties are for all intents and purposes legal…um, no. It just means you actually have to have proof if you want to accuse someone of such an act. It’s a pretty simple concept.

  127. giablommi says: Sep 7, 2012 4:46 PM

    This is great news, and a repudiation of Roger Goodell’s irresponsible reign of terror over the NFL.

    Locking out the players, locking out the officials, unjustified suspensions with little to no evidence, who knows what’s next? In any event, glad to see justice prevail here.

  128. realdealsteel says: Sep 7, 2012 4:46 PM

    All teams have “incentive programs” in place for good defensive plays. Get used to it. It’s just been that way for 70 years.

  129. eerock41 says: Sep 7, 2012 5:03 PM

    since head hunting is now legal in the NFL, the skins need to take ever shot on the saints QB they can get. Lets see how the saints react to the skins trying to knock him out of the game if not for the season.

  130. goldrush36 says: Sep 7, 2012 5:04 PM

    There were lockouts of both the players and officials under Tagliabue as well as a player strike, get over yourself giablomni. These all have to do with the owners/labor….. nothing at all to do with commissioners

  131. eerock41 says: Sep 7, 2012 5:23 PM

    i change my position dont go for the QB go for vilma, would love to see him get knocked out for the season. well you know what get them both out of the game.

  132. axespray says: Sep 7, 2012 5:27 PM

    Wooo-hoo! , Lack of holding NFL players accountable… Antonio Cromartie being a father and players with a rep for late hits rule!

  133. purplegreenandgold says: Sep 7, 2012 5:40 PM

    the real joy for me is that this information hit the NFL offices late on friday afternoon. Talking about turning the script on them!

  134. thebiglabreeski says: Sep 7, 2012 5:44 PM

    eerock41 says:
    Sep 7, 2012 5:03 PM
    since head hunting is now legal in the NFL, the skins need to take ever shot on the saints QB they can get. Lets see how the saints react to the skins trying to knock him out of the game if not for the season.

    So you think Brees is healthy because teams have not been taking any shot they can get on him? It’s clear to anyone who has watched a game that any shot they can get on him is few and far between because he’s had the best line in football.

  135. rsnbg says: Sep 7, 2012 5:51 PM

    This reminds me of O.J. 94 – 100% guilty but …

  136. jamiebuf12 says: Sep 7, 2012 6:02 PM

    Vilma is a punk!!!!!!!! so every time a player steps out and does something wrong ,they will just go to their home state courts and get their punishments over ruled????

    i hope a bounty gets put out on vilma lol lol

  137. gtodriver says: Sep 7, 2012 6:20 PM

    Well, a temporary bright spot for the Saints*

    Enjoy it well it lasts.

  138. wtfchiefs says: Sep 7, 2012 7:01 PM

    Can Godell eat in Vilma’s cousin’s restaurant now?

  139. charger383 says: Sep 7, 2012 8:28 PM

    I don’t like the bounty thing, but it is worth Vilma getting off to have this shoved up Roger Godell’s rear end.

  140. sailbum7 says: Sep 7, 2012 8:40 PM

    I guess the appeals panel is saying that as long as the hits themselves are within the rules, then there is noting wrong with the bounties. They are saying that motivating players to hit a little harder is not illegal so long as they are clean hits. In some ways this actually makes sense, although from a moral perspective, paying someone extra for injuring another person is unpalatable.

  141. mumaniac1 says: Sep 7, 2012 10:02 PM

    It is amusing to me how many people post on here without having a clue to what is actually going on. What happened today is a group of NFL arbitrators ruled that goodell did not have the authority to rule on a pay for performance system. Goodell will likely suspend the players again next week or so under his authority as “conduct detrimental to the league”. Then it will go back to the courts again, this is far from over, you can expect this to drag on the entire season if the courts take near as long as they did with the starcaps case.

  142. omniusprime says: Sep 8, 2012 9:13 AM

    Stinking internal panel is more interested in protecting despicable cheaters than in protecting the integrity of the NFL. Cheaters should be punished, period! If the NFL can’t run an honest operation then the fans will stop watching. I far prefer college football to pro football, would love to see the idiotic touchdown celebrations stopped. If the NFL doesn’t properly punish the Bountygate criminals then I’ll tune out the NFL until order is restored, if it ever is.

    NFL Run an Honest Game!

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