NFL will honor decision of appeals panel

AP

The first reaction by many after news broke of the ruling of the panel that overturned the bounty suspensions imposed on the players was this:  “What if the NFL refuses to let the players the play?”

That question has been answered.  The NFL will reinstate the players, immediately.

“Consistent with the panel’s decision, Commissioner Goodell will, as directed, make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed for violating the league’s pay-for-performance/bounty rule,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.  “Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend.”

The appeals panel overturned the suspensions earlier today, explaining that it’s not clear whether Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision infringes on the exclusive jurisdiction of the “System Arbitrator” over salary-cap violations.  The cases (as to the players) now go back to Goodell, requiring him to basically start the process from scratch.

In the end, the same decision may be made.  Until then, this one will be perceived as a major victory for the Saints and the players suspended by Goodell.

50 responses to “NFL will honor decision of appeals panel

  1. If he reinstates the original punishments, Goodell will be labelled a stubborn, God-complex authoritarian, and if he reduces the original punshments, will be labelled a wishywashy wuss. No good outcome for the ginger hammer here.

  2. The NFL has already damaged these guys’ careers irreparably. They haven’t been able to prepare for games. And who knows if they’ve even been in camp or playing during preseason? They might be veterans but that just means they have less playing time left as their careers are closer and closer to coming to an end.

  3. There will still be suspensions although likely reduced. They will just be more precisely defined as what exactly they are for. Therefore avoiding a return to arbitration.

  4. If Goodell goes against a unanimous panel decision and reinstates the suspensions or even suspends the players at all after this, there will be a severe backlash against his unilateral dictator-ish power. It will be perceived as unfounded, petty, and vendetta-driven.

    By the same token – Sean Payton, Joe Vitt, and Mickey Loomis should be reinstated. The NFL needs this to go away. The commissioner is unfairly tilting the scales against the Saints without necessarily establishing proof. His credibility is questionable at this point, and he is losing the PR battle with the teams, the fans, and the NFL analysts.

  5. But…didn’t Gregg Williams admit to implementing a pay-to-injure scheme in New Orleans? Is that incompetent Shyam Das on the appeals panel?

  6. All he had to do is SHOW THE EVIDENCE and he would have won.

    Why is that so hard for you all to understand. If he had it, he would have showed it.

  7. Once again, a player “gets off” when, should an ordinary citizen commit such an act, they would be behind bars! Our legal system fails once again!

  8. All of you criticizing Goodell…..I would love to see how you would have handled this situation. If you impose no punishments, people hate you for not caring about player safety. If you do impose punishments, you get sued. This whole bounty thing was a lose-lose for Goodell. Doesn’t matter who is commissioner.

  9. It is possible that just by indicating the rule being violated is a ‘performance/bounty’ rule violation makes it an issue for the arbitrator. There is no harm done to the game by a pay for performance violation but there is a salary cap violation. The commissioner’s office will have to now prove that all of the evidence collected pertains to actions that ‘harm the integrity of the game’ and are not being punished for salary cap implications.

  10. samapoc says:
    Sep 7, 2012 4:26 PM
    The NFL has already damaged these guys’ careers irreparably. They haven’t been able to prepare for games. And who knows if they’ve even been in camp or playing during preseason? They might be veterans but that just means they have less playing time left as their careers are closer and closer to coming to an end.
    ______________________________
    You can use that as justification as much as I could say they could have gotten hurt in preseason and missed the entire year, thus hurting their careers irreparably, had they never been suspended.

  11. This outcome is the best for the game, no matter what happens down the road. It has now been established that Goodell’s authority can be challenged, that in this case he seemed to either not have the evidence or the panel decided he went too far. In either case going forward Goodell will have to be more careful about the punishment he hands down. Perhaps he will find working through a panel of former coaches, players and league execs to determine punishment will take the monkey off his back and provide the players a sense of greater fairness.

  12. Scott Fujita should have never been part of this witchhunt to begin with.

    Goodell is a paper tiger. GO BROWNS!!!

  13. I wish for once, people would comment based on anything other than how they feel about the Saints. Im from Louisiana and Im no Saints fan. The same players that are whining so loudly about their suspensions will be joining the group suing the NFL for not caring about them and their concussions. Either the NFL is concerned about player safety or their not. You can’t have it both ways people. It seems people’s convictions are dictated by what takes away or puts money in their pockets. What is Goddell suppose to do?

  14. come on skins take brees out of the game and the season. you will not get into any trouble for trying to take him out.

  15. geauxjay says:
    Sep 7, 2012 4:30 PM
    All he had to do is SHOW THE EVIDENCE and he would have won.

    Why is that so hard for you all to understand. If he had it, he would have showed it.
    ———————————————————
    OR……….to show the evidence would mean they would have had to make the confidential informants identity known. Perhaps the NFL did not deem the case worthy enough to actually reveal this persons identity. Criminal cases are dropped all the time when it comes down to identifying either the CI or the Undercover Officers identity. In the end, the only thing we know for sure is that you don’t know much about the case.

  16. Brett favres ankle was hurt going into the game,it was a chance he took. Stop crying about the hits on him and start asking why his team kept letting him get hit. The players are not completely innocent in this either. There was a pay for play but NOT a pay to injure. All of you dogging the saints just can’t accept that this team is good now. Sorry to bust your bubble,but the lovable losers are gone for good now,get used to seeing the saints wipe the floor with your teams. WHO DAT!!!!

  17. shrike3000 says:
    Sep 7, 2012 5:16 PM
    Neither Payton or Williams ever “admitted” or “confessed” to a pay for injury scheme. So you can stop with those arguments.

    Completely false Williams did and appologized for it.

  18. kcmaddog1 says: Sep 7, 2012 4:30 PM

    Once again, a player “gets off” when, should an ordinary citizen commit such an act, they would be behind bars! Our legal system fails once again!
    —————————————————-

    If an ordinary citizen started form tackling people in the street, they would go to jail. Good observation. What’s your point?

  19. dt584ever says: Sep 7, 2012 5:41 PM

    shrike3000 says:
    Sep 7, 2012 5:16 PM
    Neither Payton or Williams ever “admitted” or “confessed” to a pay for injury scheme. So you can stop with those arguments.

    Completely false Williams did and appologized for it.
    ____________________________________

    Completely false. Williams admitted to a play for performance system and apologized for it.

  20. Actually Greg Williams patty much did admit to it. This is from HIS STATEMENT:
    “I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints,” Williams said. “It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.

    Lets realize he stated he knew he didn’t fight it.Why is it so hard to believe this never happened? Why is it if the average person sy posting here didn’t get a official memo from the NFL or attorneys involved in this case there must not be any evidence at all. The NFL woke up on day and said hmmm. The Saints are becoming to good of a team. We better make up a plan to bring them down. HAHA Now that we took their coaches an a few players the NFL is going to become even bigger than ever imagined. I for one have watched more football since this has happened. NOT!!!

  21. Again those saying Payton and Williams admitted to a pay for injury system are uninformed, just making things up, or a combination of both. NOBODY from the new Orleans Saints organization EVER… Repeat EVER admitted to such a program.

  22. Anyone arguing about whether Goodell had proof is missing the point. The pannel’s ruling didn’t address proof, they overturned the suspensions on a technicality. It’s about whether the financial aspect takes discipline out of Goodell’s hands. They felt it did.

    He’s now well within his rights to suspend them for conduct detrimental to the game. And the proof he already has will be more than enough to make it stick. He just has to decide whether to reduce the length of suspensions and appear soft, or to stick to the original lengths and look like he’s starting a pissing match with the arbitration pannel.

  23. mrcogburn says:
    Sep 7, 2012 4:36 PM
    Outlaws win. Pathetic.
    —————————————————————————

    Outlaws outwit the suits! Don’t care whose team it is. That’s a damn good thang right there!!!!

  24. samapoc says:
    Sep 7, 2012 4:26 PM
    The NFL has already damaged these guys’ careers irreparably. They haven’t been able to prepare for games. And who knows if they’ve even been in camp or playing during preseason? They might be veterans but that just means they have less playing time left as their careers are closer and closer to coming to an end.
    ——————————————
    I guess MJD should just retire now since he himself irreparably damaged his own career by holding out of camp for new contract.

  25. shrike3000 says:
    Sep 7, 2012 5:16 PM
    Neither Payton or Williams ever “admitted” or “confessed” to a pay for injury scheme. So you can stop with those arguments.
    ________________________________

    Please explain this statement by Williams then….

    “I’d like to again apologize wholeheartedly to the NFL, Coach Fisher, the entire Rams organization and all football fans for my actions. Furthermore, I apologize to the players of the NFL for my involvement as it is not a true reflection of my values as a father or coach, nor is it reflective of the great respect I have for this game and its core principle of sportsmanship. I accept full responsibility for my actions. I highly value the 23 years that I’ve spent in the NFL. I will continue to cooperate fully with the league and its investigation and I will focus my energies on serving as an advocate for both player safety and sportsmanship. I will do everything possible to re-earn the respect of my colleagues, the NFL and its players in hopes of returning to coaching in the future.”

    Yeah he didn’t “admit” or “confess” to it. He didn’t have to. Everyone knows what happened. And this was his apology. If it was just a simple “pay-for-performance” program all along instead of a “bounty” program, don’t you think he would have tried to fight it in court too instead of issuing this long apology?

    By the way, Williams didn’t even try to appeal his suspension.

  26. This ruling is a nice, quiet way for Goodell to save face, without having to admit error or culpability. Just watch this whole thing go away now.

    I would have liked it to go to trial instead of the keystone cops version we had here. It would have created a legal record of Goodell’s (and the league’s) inappropriate actions, which then could have had consequences in the event of other legal challenges to league authority. But now this problem goes nicely away.

    As to the coaching suspensions, I don’t expect any of the coaches to challenge this. It’s a different situation with the players. A guy like Vilma, who only has a few years left as a player, could fight it. But a coach, who ultimately relies upon the goodwill of owners (and by proxy, the league) doesn’t have this latitude. They have longer careers and more to lose. The coaches probably have a winning case, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not about whether you’re right, if you’re a coach – it’s about whether you’re in good graces with ownership. And yeah, sure, you might find an owner willing to get behind their coaches and challenge the league, but we all know this is for show only. It would never go much farther. Even the owners know the league ultimately holds the trump card over them. Witness the Cowboys and Redskins fines for not going along with the league’s collusion. There was a lot of huffing and puffing but neither Jerry nor Dan did anything more.

    I’m curious to see what Vilma ends up doing. He still has a great case against the league for their interference. I’ll guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    As to Goodell, he squeaked through this one. I would guess if this thing got dug up for further inspection he might not be so lucky.

  27. brenenostler, please read, without inference, the post you just made and explain to me where it says anything about injuries, bounties or any such thing? The NFL typed this letter and forced him to sign it if he ever wanted to coach again. It’s clearly written ambiguously enough so Gregg Williams would sign it and so it would ‘say’ what the NFL wanted it to ‘say’. If you’re going to confess to something, wouldn’t you be a bit more specific about it than that? This could have been a confession about throwing spit balls for all you know.

  28. The ignorance! This was a procedural ruling. Did the suspension by Goodell infringe on the Salary Cap Arbitrator’s exclusive rights because of pay-for-performnace implications?

    The Commissioner answers no, the miscreants sullied the good name of the NFL and again suspends them. Case closed and the ignorant who are trumpeting victory will ask “What happened?”

  29. Hang in there all you stoopid bast.ards who were so sure the Great Commish had unlimited power – given by the CBA.

    Want some hotsauce with that crow?

  30. Here’s a fun fact for the day. One of the NFLPA’s appeals was based on the fact that they felt it was a salary cap issue and the NFL firmly stated on multiple occasions it was not salary cap related in order to keep Goodell in control of player punishment. (had it been acknowledged as a salary cap violation Goodell would have no authority to issue suspensions per the CBA) now it seems from what I’m reading that it IS a salary cap issue per the arbitrators who overturned the suspensions, which means Goodell may not rule on the suspensions when the time comes. Now answer this, why did the league try so hard to circumvent the CBA and keep the authority in goodells hands? Sounds fishy to me….

  31. so who “wins” if goodell waits until week 8 to suspend the players? now hargrove AND vilma are lost for the season and smith misses four crucial games down the stretch…

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