New Orleans Saints’ Bounty Overturned: Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove Start Season
Sep 07, 2012 05:17 PM EDT
According to reports by ESPN, the suspension placed on four New Orleans Saints' players in July due to the bounty scandal has been overturned. The decision comes as a-three panel arbitration cleared all three players Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove for the season.
The National Football League released a statement to ESPN as follows:
"Consistent with the panel's decision, commissioner Goodell will, as directed, make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed for violating the league's pay-for-performance/bounty rule. Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend."
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In July, Vilma also filed suit against the league and Goodell for a "very public and unfortunately erroneous allegations," during the recent bounty scandal. In addition to Vilma, the NFLPA also filed suit on behalf of three other the New Orleans Saints' players involved in the incident. The lawsuits rest on the argument that Goodell named players Smith, Hargrove and Fujita as participants in the bounty scandal before he served as arbitrator at the hearings. And that Goodell violated the league's collective bargaining agreement.
The arbitration panel ruled the lawsuit moot according to ESPN. Never the less the three players appear glad to have the incident behind them.
"Thank you to everyone involved in the process of this solution. And everyone who supported us through this whole ordeal #whodat," Tweeted Smith on his Twitter page @iWillSmith.
"Victory is Mine!!!!-Stewie Griffin" tweeted Vilma on his Twitter page @JonVilma51.
The Saints will open their season on Sunday in Washington.