NFLPA's Smith pleased with bounty ruling

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NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith applauded the recent decision to throw out the suspensions for the players involved in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, according to

In a letter sent to players Sunday morning, Smith credited the strength of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement for the ruling.

"Our CBA provides careful checks and balances to ensure that player rights are protected and no one person can make impartial, biased and unfair decisions," Smith said in the letter. "The panel's ruling exposed the league's unfair process and false accusations."

Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, defensive end Will Smith, former linebacker Scott Fujita and former defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove were initially suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for their roles in the alleged bounty program.

Those punishments were overturned Friday through an appeal by a three-judge panel, who then asked for Goodell to clarify the reasons for the punishments. He can suspend players for conduct, but not because payments were received for performance, since that is a salary-cap issue over and out of his jurisdiction.

Smith's letter to players suggested that the fight may not be over.

"Despite the facts we now know about the failure by the League to abide by our CBA, they may decide to revisit these player suspensions," Smith said in the letter. "If they do, we will demand the same things we have fought for during these many months: a fair process, the ability to critically review all information and a neutral and unbiased arbitrator."

-- The Sports Xchange