At last, the war between the players and the league is over. Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated broke news this afternoon that all players involved in the NewOrleans Saints bounty scandal have had their suspensions overturned by a three member panel.
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
The ruling came after days of deliberation for Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita. All suspensions were overturned and those players will be eligible for a week one return to their respective teams.
The panel determined that Roger Goodell can reconsider discipline only if there is evidence of intent to injure beyond just a performance pool. In laymans terms, they can still be held to their suspensions if, and only if, Roger Goodell can prove that there was an intent to injure another player that went beyond the scope of a bounty pool.
The news came across shocking to most, and Jonathan Vilma couldn’t be happier. He tweeted “Victory is mine!!! – Stewie Griffin”
All players will be able to line up on Sunday.
The suspensions were not overturned for Saints Coaches Sean Payton and Joe Vitt or for General Manager Mickey Loomis. They will remain suspended.
The league has issued a statement saying:
“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.”