Players rejected eleventh-hour bounty settlement

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As former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue prepares to issue a decision as to the appeal of the suspensions imposed by current Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove, Tagliabue’s work won’t be interrupted by a settlement by the players and the NFL.

PFT  has confirmed that a last-ditch settlement effort was initiated by the league, and that it was rejected by the players.  The offer included proposed reductions in the penalties, but it was contingent on the players acknowledging responsibility for violations of league policy.

Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen of ESPN first reported on the settlement offer and the rejection by the players.  They report that Smith was offered a four-game fine and Hargrove was offered a two-game suspension.

Smith faces a four-game suspension, and Hargrove’s eight-game suspension was previously reduced to two games, to be served after he joins a team.

It’s unknown what, if anything, was offered to Fujita, who faces a one-game suspension, or Vilma, who is due to be suspended for the balance of the season.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the offer has been viewed as a last-ditch effort by the league to save face in advance of Tagalibue’s ruling.

13 responses to “Players rejected eleventh-hour bounty settlement

  1. Smart move not to take it, I’m no lawyer but this seems to be admission from the league that they can’t prove this occurred with the limited, if any at all, evidence they have. At first I wanted this to go away but it really doesn’t matter so now I hope the players fight and win.

  2. Doesn’t surpise many. The league wasted their money bringing in Tagliabue. Clearly a conflict of interest in many areas. If the players went this far and firmly stick to their innocence any sudden admission would be rediculous at this point. Actually it appears the league had an opportunity to save face for their botched allegations but squandered it. Don’t think for one moment that anyone has gotten off easy on this one… remember the coaches that didn’t have a voice!

  3. With the emergence of Childress recently, this is starting to look like a farce started by a sore losing coach on the brink of losing his job. Childress is a punk and a purger’er. He said she said drama queen.

  4. I will be interested in seeing what happens with the decision.

    If Childress did in fact start something and then the other people (Cerullo and Williams) did in fact corroborate the testimony, then it would’ve been a valid reason for the hearings to begin with. Then when the players didn’t show for the initial hearings that could’ve been perceived as guilt, as it would’ve been in a court of law. It could also be that they were in fact protecting supposed whistle blowers.

    Also, I can see that if the players didn’t go to the initial hearing that during the appeal that they NFL didn’t have to show them this information. Once to the appeal it is on the players to prove innocence not the NFL, again this is akin to an actual trial.

    However, also like a trial, if it is found that someone lied or tried to have something bad happen as sort of sour apples that should be taken into account. With that the liar handed his/her head and the innocent exonerated.

    I personally think that they are guilty, but I am not the judge or the jury so to speak.

    For those people that say bring on the judge, have you not figured out yet that anything that she orders will be overturned on appeal? 1. She is just as biased as the players are accusing Goodell of being, that is why they picked her. 2. She has no authority in this matter. Yes a judge can step in when laws are being broken within a CBA, but they aren’t. It is a crappy system BUT it was agreed upon. Thereby not breaking laws.

    I would still rather see this taken care of through the hearings.

  5. The players have gone too far to accept a settlement because that would mean they admit to lying throughout the process. Their obvious course is to appeal any actions in the courts until the suspensions are no longer possible even if found “guilty” again.

    I do not understand the people that somehow think the players did absolutely nothing wrong at all. The coaches admitted to wrongdoing. The team was fined a significant amount of money, lost draft picks, had coaches/management suspended for various lengths and has said hardly a word. Somehow the players still claim innocence and fans still believe them.

  6. @FinFan

    Please tell me which coaches admitted wrongdoing?
    Cause the only things I have heard is Vitt strongly denying the accusations, and Williams did not even admit any wrongdoing. The league prepared his statement for him.

    The coach a GM were suspended by Goodell, true. But they dont have a union to fight for them. They MUST accept what Goodell hands them, they cant do anything about it if they wish to remain employed in the league.

    Geez,, wake up.

  7. @kattykathy
    “We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch. We take full responsibility.

    This has brought undue hardship on Mr. Benson, who had nothing to do with this activity. He has been nothing but supportive and for that we both apologize to him.

    These are serious violations and we understand the negative impact it has had on our game. Both of us have made it clear within our organization that this will never happen again, and make that same promise to the NFL and most importantly to all of our fans.”–joint statement issued by the Saints Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis

  8. ^

    The key words being “happened under our watch.”

    Payton and Loomis were suspended for a supposed lack of institutional control, not bounties. Payton has always vehemently denied that a pay-for-injury system existed.

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