NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reaffirmed the suspensions previously given to four players suspected of participating in the Saints' bounty program on Tuesday.
The suspensions had been appealed and overturned last month, leading to the reinstatement of Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove. With the suspensions being reaffirmed, Vilma remains suspended for the season and Smith is still suspended for four games. Vilma will be paid throughout the season.
The suspensions for Hargrove (currently a free agent) and Fujita were reduced, as Hargrove's suspension will be shortened from eight games to seven while Fujita's ban was reduced from three games to one. If Hargrove is signed by a team, his suspension will be two games because he has missed the first five games of the season already.
The NFL players' association responded with the following in a press release:
"For more than six months, the NFL has ignored the facts, abused the process outlined in our collective bargaining agreement and failed to produce evidence that the players intended to injure anyone, ever. The only evidence that exists is the Leagueâs gross violation of fair due process, transparency and impartiality during this process. Truth and fairness have been the casualties of the league's refusal to admit that it might have made a mistake.
"We will review this decision thoroughly and review all options to protect our players' rights with vigilance."