- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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The NFL has announced that the four-game suspension for New Orleans defensive end Will Smith has been reinstated.
The league also provided part of a letter from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, explaining why he chose to stick with the initial punishment.
Here’s an excerpt of Goodell’s letter to Smith, provided by the NFL:
“At our meeting in September, you confirmed that you expressed approval of the program when it was first presented to you by (defensive coordinator Gregg Williams). You also confirmed that you provided money to the program pool both at the beginning of the season and again during the playoffs. I understand that you deny that anyone intended to inflict injury on any opposing player. Even in the face of repeated appeals to ‘crank up the John Deere tractor and cart the guy off,’ you and others now claim that the objective was instead merely to ‘knock the wind out’ of your opponents, requiring them to leave the game for only a play or two. From the standpoint of player safety, fair competition, and the integrity of the game, the issues with which I am concerned today, this kind of after-the-fact explanation is little more than wordplay that, in my judgment as Commissioner, offers no basis on which to excuse conduct that does not belong in professional football. Such behavior is conduct detrimental without regard to the precise extent or duration of the disability intended.’’
I know a lot of New Orleans fans have been screaming for evidence. I think you’ve got it right there. Smith confirmed he approved of the bounty program and helped fund it.