Sports

NFL Commish Vacates Suspensions over "Bounties"

Believes players acted badly, but coaches were also heavily involved

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The former N.F.L. commissioner Paul Tagliabue overturned the suspensions of four current and former New Orleans Saints players in the league's bounty investigation of the club.

Tagliabue, however, found that three of the players engaged in conduct detrimental to the league. He said they participated in a performance pool that rewarded key plays — including hard tackles — that could merit fines. But he stressed that the team's coaches were very much involved.

"Unlike Saints' broad organizational misconduct, player appeals involve sharply focused issues of alleged individual player misconduct in several different aspects," said a portion of the ruling released by the N.F.L. "My affirmation of Commissioner Goodell's findings could certainly justify the issuance of fines. However, this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints' organization."

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