The NFLPA announced its support for Paul Tagliabue's decision to vacate the punishments for the four players suspended in the New Orleans Saints bounty case. A statement released by the players' organization on Tuesday afternoon regarding the outcome of the appeal.
The NFLPA statement read:
We believe that when a fair due process takes place, a fair outcome is the result.
We are pleased that Paul Tagliabue, as the appointed hearings officer, agreed with the NFL Players Association that previously issued discipline was inappropriate in the matter of the alleged New Orleans Saints bounty program.
Vacating all discipline affirms the players' unwavering position that all allegations the League made about their alleged "intent-to-injure" were utterly and completely false.
We are happy for our members.
Tagliabue was appointed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the player appeals after Goodell reissued suspensions that were overturned by an independent arbitration panel overseeing the case as a fiscal matter related to the CBA. The players association asked Tagliabue to recuse himself from hearing the appeal in November over a conflict of interest. The former NFL commissioner refused.
Tagliabue's decision left both the league and the players with the ability to declare victory and move on from the matter. In fact, Tuesday's ruling settles the matter as far as the league's collective bargaining agreement is concerned. Jonathan Vilma's attorney announced that his client still intended to pursue a personal defamation suit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.