On the eve Week One, four NFL players have had their suspensions for the New Orleans Saints “bountygate” scandal overturned, for now.
Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter was the first to break it:
BREAKING: A 3-member appeals panel has overturned the player suspensions in the Saints bounty case, says a source. Details coming.
— Jim Trotter (@SI_JimTrotter) September 7, 2012
And some more details ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
With Saints winning appeal, suspensions are voided as Roger Goodell doesn’t have jurisdiction and Stephen Burbank does.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 7, 2012
Initially, Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith, and Scott Fujita were all suspended for allegedly setting up a bounty pool that paid players to injure opponents.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell upheld the decision in July. But the appeals panel basically ruled today that it wasn’t his decision to uphold.
Gabe Feldman, who is an expert in sports law, says that the players “aren’t out of the woods yet.”
Bounty-4 aren’t out of woods yet. Commish still has another chance to impose discipline, though case is certainly ripe for settlement now.
— Gabe Feldman (@SportsLawGuy) September 7, 2012
Feldman says that Goodell still has the ability to punish based on the “intent to injure” part of the decision. But he does not have the jurisdiction to punish based on the “violation of the CBA” part of the decision.
It’s a bit complicated, but here’s what we know: They can all play this weekend, but the case is now back in Goodell’s hands and he can still punish them.
This is what Vilma tweeted after the decision came down:
Victory is mine!!!! -stewie griffin
— Jonathan Vilma (@JonVilma51) September 7, 2012
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