Players, Media React To Tagliabue's "Stunning" Bounty Ruling
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue "in a stunning turn of events" today "vacated all player discipline" handed out in the Saints bounty case against players Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita and Will Smith. In the ruling announced by the NFL and himself, Tagliabue said that while Commissioner Roger Goodell's findings in the case "were factually accurate, the 'entire case' was 'contaminated' by the Saints organization." This ruling is "no guarantee" that the scandal is over, as Tagliabue "made it clear that he found Vilma still 'guilty' of offering a bounty" (CBSSPORTS.com, 12/11).
NFL Network's Albert Breer reports that Vilma's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, said, "Jonathan intends to continue to pursue the defamation lawsuit in order to reclaim his reputation. We’re pleased that the unjust penalties have been overturned, but this is only one piece in remedying the situation for Jonathan" (TWITTER.com, 12/11).
Saints QB Drew Brees wrote on his Twitter feed, "Congratulations to our players for having the suspensions vacated. Unfortunately, there are some things that can never be taken back." Forbes.com's Alicia Jessop tweeted, "The precedent handed down by Tagliabue is something like this: Players, if your coach tells you to do something wrong & you do it, it's ok." SI's Jim Trotter: "If y'all think Roger Goodell ain't going to do something to flex his muscle after being smacked down by Tagliabue, you don't know him." ESPN Radio 1500 Twin Cities’ Tom Pelissero: "Tagliabue pinned the blame where it should have been in the first place."