A three-member appeals panel overturned the player suspensions in the New Orleans Saints bounty case, reports SI.com.
The appeals panel vacated the suspensions of the so-called “Bounty 4″, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, free agent Anthony Hargrove, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and Saints defensive end Will Smith.
The suspensions are voided immediately and the NFL confirms the players are eligible to play beginning this weekend but Commissioner Roger Goodell can reconsider discipline, if he has evidence of a bounty scandal.
“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,” a statement from the NFL said. “Until that determination is made, the four players are reinstated and eligible to play starting this weekend.”
The court remanded the case back to NFL for a redetermination of appropriate penalties.
The NFL has no recourse, but can choose to file a lawsuit which they can attack of the arbitration.
The NFL suspended the player and Saints head coach Sean Payton, defensive coach Joe Vitt and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for their alleged role in a pay-for-injure scheme. Payton, Vitt, Williams and Loomis are not affected by this ruling.
Victory is mine!!!! -stewie griffin—
Jonathan Vilma (@JonVilma51) September 07, 2012
Congratulations to our players and the Saints organization. A 3 judge panel UNANIMOUSLY overturned the bounty suspensions for players.—
Drew Brees (@drewbrees) September 07, 2012