The NFL handed out modified suspensions Tuesday to four players involved in the New Orleans Saints’ alleged bounty program.
Linebacker Scott Fujita, who now plays for Cleveland, saw his suspension reduced from three games to one. The suspension of defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now a free agent, was reduced from eight games to seven. There is no change to the suspension of Saints defensive lineman Will Smith, who is still banned for four games. And linebacker Jonathan Vilma is still out for the season, although the league says he can keep the pay he earned for his six weeks on the physically unable to perform list.
The players’ suspensions were lifted last month by a three-member appeals panel that determined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was overstepping his authority if he was punishing the players for both conduct detrimental to the league and circumventing the salary cap. He has the authority to punish for the former, but not for the latter.
Goodell modified the suspensions, clarifying they were for conduct detrimental, and resubmitted them.
“The quality, specificity and scope of the evidence supporting the findings of conduct detrimental are far greater and more extensive than ordinarily available in such cases,” Goodell said in a written memo to all 32 teams.