OK, so former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has decided that the sanctions imposed on New Orleans Saints players was way too much and no suspensions should have been issued. What does it all mean? It means that Goodell still wins. Take a look at the Saints. What should have been a Super Bowl contender has been reduced to tattered rags.
Is there any way for the New Orleans Saints to recapture the lost season, the damage to player reputations, the tainted taste of cheating. Absolutely not. Saints fans and players will bemoan this lost year and move on they have to, having been whipped into submission by the NFL, the franchise must accept things and go on.
But the bigger picture may be a little brighter. In essence the NFL is an employer and employers must follow certain rules. What Roger G. would have liked would to be crowned King, and unassailable despot who could hand down punishments at a whim, requiring neither proof nor certainty to justify his actions.
This ruling pretty much slaps his hands and may serve in the future to prevent his doling out whippings based on his personal opinion. In my mind, he’s now become liable for legal sanctions and could be very well sued by more Saints players along the lines of the lawsuit being pursued by Jonathan Vilma. I certainly hope so.
Bottom line is that the New Orleans Saints have been dealt a major blow, losing their coach, draft picks, and reputation. They should recover in time. But a lost opportunity is never recaptured in the NFL. The rest of the players in the NFL may be able to breathe a little easier now, knowing that before they can be punished to this extent there must be clear proof, something any reputable employer would have known already. The Saints loss is a muted victory in the long run.Eric Drouant