Sunday, May 20, 2018
Sports

Bounty bans reissued

The NFL reissued the suspensions of four players in the Saints bounty case on Tuesday, reducing two of the penalties.

Commissioner Roger Goodell reduced the suspension of former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Browns, from three games to one, the league announced.

The suspension of former Saints defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was cut from eight games to seven. He will be credited with the five games he has missed as a free agent but must serve a two-game suspension when he is signed by a team, according to the league.

The four-game suspension of Saints defensive lineman Will Smith and season ban for linebacker Jonathan Vilma were not changed. According to the league, Vilma will retain the part of his salary he received while on the physically unable to perform list for the first five games.

An appeals panel overturned the original suspensions Sept. 7.

At that time, the appeals panel said it was unclear whether the suspensions were imposed for conduct detrimental to the league, which is under Goodell's jurisdiction, or salary cap infractions, which are not. The panel sent the case back to Goodell and said he could re-issue discipline.

The players held a series of meetings with Goodell last month. He said Tuesday in a memo to teams that the players, "confirmed many of the key facts disclosed in our investigation, most particularly that the program offered cash rewards for 'cart-offs'."

Smith said in a statement to profootballtalk.com: "I remain frustrated with the continued unilateral rulings by this commissioner as he continues to disregard the facts and assault my character."

The players also challenged the suspensions in federal court in Louisiana. They can appeal the suspensions re-issued Tuesday.

The NFL Players Association criticized Goodell's decision as well.

"For more than six months, the NFL has ignored the facts, abused the process outlined in our collective bargaining agreement and failed to produce evidence that the players intended to injure anyone, ever," the union wrote.

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