NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is still sticking to his original punishment for Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith(not the actor) for their part in the bountygate scandal. This is despite the fact that an appeal panel that was created by the NFL’s labor agreement removed the original suspensions. The panel found no grounds in the NFL rules for the suspicions. That means that Vilma will still miss the entire season. Smith has already served his sentence but still wants to appeal to clear his name.
There was a little relief for former Saints defensive lineman Scott Fujita whose three-game suspension was cut to one game. Again Fujita has already played this season so the reduction is pointless. Free-agent Anthony Hargrove saw his suspension cut from eight-games to seven.
Most of the players have acknowledged that there was a pool but say it had nothing to do with intentionally hurting opposing players. Regardless for them this scandal came at time when the NFL is battling former players over life altering injuries. Players are arguing that they were not properly warned of the effects of playing football. The NFL has been making a strong effort to combat this notion. They are even running ads featuring players like Tom Brady pointing out the importance of early safety teaching. For Goodell the bounty scandal is a blemish that points to lack safety standards that needs to be erased. Therefore I wouldn’t expect to see Vilma on the field anytime soon.Which is not a good thing because the Saints need a stronger defense.