Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue on Tuesday overturned the case against the New Orleans Saints players involved in the bountygate scandal, vacating all discipline against them.
Tagliabue, appointed to hear the latest round of player appeals, said that even though he affirms the factual findings of Commissioner Roger Goodell, and that those findings could justify fines, “this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints' organization.”
“Unlike Saints' broad organizational misconduct, player appeals involve sharply focused issues of alleged individual player misconduct in several different aspects,” Tagliabue said in a written statement.
In the fallout of the alleged pay-to-injure scheme, the league had originally suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the season. Receiving shorter suspensions were Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove.