[caption id="attachment_17924" align="aligncenter" width="520"] Sean Gardner / Getty Images[/caption] So Roger Goodell isn't all powerful after all. The four New Orleans Saints players that were suspended in the whole 'Bounty Gate' saga, were reinstated on Friday and it appears that we have finally reached the limit of what Roger Goodell has the power to do. It is a victory for the underdog, a blow struck against the evil authoritarian figure by the common man. But hold your horses for just one second. Yes the players have been reinstated. Scott Fujita, now at the Cleveland Browns, and Will Smith will likely play this round, while Anthony Hargrove is still waiting for a team to sign him and Jonathan Vilma is still waiting for his knee to heal. But you can bet this is not going to be the last we have heard of this case. For just like the players, the Commish won't go down without a fight. He has always been wanted to be viewed as the ultimate authority in the sport that he oversees and he won't let this minor setback get in his way.
"The court found that Roger Goodell is not the man who can dole out the punishment."There was one little tidbit in the ruling, one little loophole in the reason why the suspensions were thrown out, that enables Roger Goodell to make sure that the players still get what he thinks they deserve. The court found that Roger Goodell is not the man who can dole out the punishment. He can only do the investigating. It's down to NFL Special Master Stephen Burbank to punish the players. After learning of the ruling, the league stated through the NFL spokesman Greg Aiello that the league would "make an expedited determination of the discipline imposed" for violating the bounties rule. That tells us that the players aren't getting off that easily. And you know what? They shouldn't get away with it. Not when they had the intention the hurt other players. That goes against the spirit of any sport. Yes its a physical violent game, a game where a large part of the spectacle is seeing the big hits by defences on the opposing team. But once a player has it in his mind that to intentionally injure an opponent and knock him out of the game, that's just not on. The one thing the league needs to change, if and when they decide to suspend to players again, is all the smoke and mirrors. If they decide to try and enforce to penalties, they need to stop all of their posturing. The evidence should become more transparent so there is absolutely no question about whether or not there was any illegal bounty actions taking place. The audio (you can listen to it here, but there is a language warning) was fairly damning, but its not the be all and end all. If the NFL want to put this issue to bed they should release some of the 50,000 pages of evidence they claim to have. Maybe then, this whole issue can be let go. What do you think? Should the Saints players finally be left alone?