Tagliabue Overturns Saints’ Suspensions

David Goldman / AP Photo

The New Orleans Saints huddle during the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011, in Atlanta.

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue issued a ruling to overturn the suspensions of four current and former New Orleans Saints players Tuesday, bringing a close to a case that has plagued the NFL for close to a year. Tagliabue, the commissioner from 1989–2006 was asked by his predecessor, current commissioner Roger Goodell, to oversee the appeals in order to keep the league from operating a “kangaroo court.” While Tagliabue did find that three of the players had engaged in fine-worthy conduct that was “detrimental to the league,” he placed a large part of the blame on the coaches themselves, who rewarded key plays—including hard tackles—with a culture of performance pools. “This entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints’ organization,” the ruling said.