After pleading his innocence in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita had his three-game suspension reduced to one game on Tuesday, according to Jeff Schudel of The News-Herald.
Fujita was not found to have contributed to the bounty program in New Orleans while he was a part of the roster in 2009, but was still forced to accept blame for not actively trying to stop things as far as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is concerned.
Goodell, who ultimately deemed a lesser suspension was necessary in this case, was still largely critical of Fujita's actions in a letter informing the linebacker of his final ruling:
"While I have not found that you directly contributed to the bounty pool, there is no serious question that you were aware of the pool and its elements, including that it provided rewards for cartoffs.
I am surprised and disappointed by the fact that you, a former defensive captain and a passionate advocate for player safety, ignored such a program and permitted it to continue. You made clear to me that participation in the program was voluntary and that other players could have refused to participate, as you claim to have done. If you had spoken up, perhaps other players would have refused to participate and the consequences with which we are now dealing could have been avoided."
Fujita will have 72 hours to appeal his new suspension, but clearly has to be somewhat encouraged by Goodell's perceived leniency here. Even though the NFLPA will continue to fight every punishment handed down related to the scandal, only losing Fujita for one game should be viewed as a success for the Browns at this point.