NFL Players Reject Bounty Program Settlement
Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita, and Anthony Hargrove have rejected a settlement offer regarding their part in the New Orleans Saints bounty program.
All four men were suspended and fined for taking part in a program that offered bonuses payments for intentionally hurting opposing teams’ players.
Overseeing the appeal case is former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who is expected to reach a final decision on the case by Tuesday.
All four players are believed to be mostly satisfied with Tagliabue and how he has run the appeals process. For example, players were finally allowed to cross-examine multiple key witnesses, including their former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Before Talgiabue took over the case, all four players complained that Roger Goodell treated them in a biased manner that did not follow NFL rules of conduct for such hearings.
As part of its new settlement offer, the NFL has offered to reduce Hargrove’s suspension from seven to two games while fining Smith four game checks and leaving the decision regarding Vilma’s season-long suspension up to Tagliabue. The Vilma decision would be based off his willingness to drop a defamation lawsuit against NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Tagliabue explained recent hearing statuses to Saints owner Tom Benson this past Wednesday.
In the meantime, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton continues to sit out his full season suspension. Gregg Williams is still indefinitely suspended pending the league’s decision.
The most recent bounty program settlement was rejected because all four men refused to acknowledge any level of culpability.