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NFL’s Bounty Suspension of Four Saints Thrown Out in Arbitration

NFL’s Bounty Suspension of Four Saints Overturned
The yearlong suspension of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, seen here tackling Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers in a game last season, was overturned by an arbitration panel. Photographer: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- An arbitration panel threw out the National Football League’s suspensions of four players who were involved with the New Orleans Saints’ bounty pool case, according to the league’s players union.

The yearlong suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma was overturned, along with shorter suspensions to Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith, National Football League Players Association spokesman George Atallah said in a telephone interview. He said he couldn’t provide further details.

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello didn’t immediately return telephone or e-mail messages seeking comment.

In May, Goodell suspended Vilma without pay for the 2012 season; Hargrove, a free-agent defensive lineman, for eight games; Smith, a defensive end, for four games; and Fujita, a linebacker now with the Cleveland Browns, for three games.

Todays decision doesn’t affect suspensions handed down to Saints coaches including head coach Sean Payton and former defensive coordinator Greg Williams.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at

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