Maybe, just maybe, an end to the Saints crazy offseason. Today, Roger Goodell upheld suspensions handed down to Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma.
The players were notified that Goodell had upheld the discipline that was imposed for conduct detrimental to the NFL as a result of their roles in the New Orleans Saints "bounty" program.
In a letter written to the players, Goodell said, "Throughout this entire process, including your appeals, and despite repeated invitations and encouragement to do so, none of you has offered any evidence that would warrant reconsideration of your suspensions. Instead, you elected not to participate meaningfully in the appeal process..."
"Although you claimed to have been 'wrongfully accused with insufficient evidence,' your lawyers elected not to ask a single question of the principal investigators, both of whom were present at the hearing (as your lawyers had requested); you elected not to testify or to make any substantive statement, written or oral, in support of your appeal; you elected not to call a single witness to support your appeal; and you elected not to introduce a single exhibit addressing the merits of your appeal. Instead, your lawyers raised a series of jurisdictional and procedural objections that generally ignore the CBA, in particular its provisions governing 'conduct detrimental' determinations..."
"While this decision constitutes my final and binding determination under the CBA, I of course retain the inherent authority to reduce a suspension should facts be brought to my attention warranting the exercise of that discretion," Goodell wrote. "The record confirms that each of you was given multiple chances to meet with me to present your side of the story. You are each still welcome to do so."
Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been suspended for the entire 2012 season, Saints defensive end Will Smith for four games, former Saint Anthony Hargrove for the first eight games and Scott Fujita for three games.
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