Smith, Hargrove accept Tagliabue’s decision, withdraw motion to vacate


For three of the players whose suspension were overturned by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, the bounty case is finally over.

As to Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, who was fully exonerated by Tagliabue, there’s nothing for Fujita to challenge in court.  As to Saints defensive end Will Smith and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove, their names were not cleared, because Tagliabue concluded that they both engaged in conduct detrimental to the league.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Smith and Hargrove will not be challenging Tagliabue’s decision in court.  They both believe that they have been vindicated by Tagliabue’s 22-page ruling.  Tagliabue concluded that it was “inappropriate” for Goodell to “singl[e] out” Smith for discipline “when most or all of the Saints’ defensive unit committed the same or similar acts as those underpinning the discipline of Smith.”  As to Hargrove, Tagliabue decided that it wasn’t clear that Hargrove lied to investigators, because it’s unclear what NFL investigators asked him in March 2010.

Consequently, the motion to vacate the arbitration ruling, previously filed by the NFLPA on behalf of Fujita, Smith, and Hargrove, has been withdrawn.

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, whom Tagliabue also ruled engaged in “conduct detrimental,” could decide separately to attack the arbitration award, in an effort to obtain full exoneration and vindication.  Or he could seek his vindication via the defamation lawsuit.

Since Vilma is operating on his own, he’ll have to decide whether he wants to spend additional legal fees even though he no longer faces any potential financial loss.  Given that Vilma seems to be very concerned about clearing his name, it wouldn’t be a shock if chooses to fight Tagliabue’s ultimate finding.

15 responses to “Smith, Hargrove accept Tagliabue’s decision, withdraw motion to vacate

  1. Vilma – I’m behind you man!! Fight the power! The only thing more important than money is that people respect us. Anyone who dogs you for fighting for your self-respect must not have much of their own!

  2. Vilma will absolutely keep his lawsuit up because of one word: spite

    He hates goodell and what better than to show the world he is runnin around defaming people’s names and suspending them for no reason (the 2nd part has already been concluded, at least partially, by tags).

  3. When two people are fighting you usually can’t tell who is right or wrong.

    The last word here is that Vilma won. Vilma should let it go. Be the winner and move on.

    Most people know it was a Witch hunt and Goodell is the one with the sullied name.

    I guarantee Vilma would be welcome with open arms in south Florida or wherever else he may one day end up…

  4. Not spite, but restoration of his good name, which has been tarnished by Goodell’s reckless and half-baked interpretation of the “evidence”.

  5. If its not spite, and about his “good name”, why isn’t he suing Yahoo! Sports or Nevin Shapiro? They said he was in a bountry program the U? Not a word from Vilma there…

  6. Am I missing something, or would these players not be out game checks for the games they missed during the now vacated suspension? Or do they now get those? The Saints surely can’t dispute that given Tagliabue’s conclusion that this all falls on the team, rather than the players.

  7. He’s also not fighting for himself but all the other well-respected defenders whose names have been muddied by this tyrant. If Vilma proves that Goodell is a defamer, suddenly Ed Reed, James Harrison and the others fines/suspensions look less credible.

  8. Vilma is a tool, and nothing he can do will change that, Goodell has made necessary changes to ensure football will stay for long term… Don’t lose site if that

  9. Vilma should heed that ole ancient proverb: becareful what you ask for. Continuing the Lawsuit will allow lots of evidence and transcripts and all sorts of things to come out to the public. Not only does it allow media to continue to follow the bounty case (which i am sure the saints just want to let it go away) You never know what kind of evidence will see the light of day (makes it fun for us). IMO it is probably better to just take the “victory” that tagilibue gave him ( no fine, no money or games lost) and get back to just playing ball. Not sure if anyone really cares what they think about Vilma anyways.

  10. @fugly – guilty of participating in conduct detrimental to the league is completely different than guilty of perpetrating a program intended to pay players for cheapshot injuries.

  11. Remember when everyone was saying they should just shut up and accept their punishments “like men?”

    As was completely expected, what stupid advice THAT turned out to be.

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