Jonathan Vilma's appeal of the season-long ban he received for his role in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal was denied along with three other players on Tuesday by the National Football League (NFL).
Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers), Saints' defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Scott Fujita (now with the Cleveland Browns), who all received smaller suspensions, also had their appeals denied.
The players were punished in May as the NFL identified them as having leadership roles in a program that gave cash rewards for knocking opponents out of games from 2009-2011.
"Throughout this entire process, including your appeals, and despite repeated invitations and encouragement to do so, none of you has offered any evidence that would warrant reconsideration of your suspensions," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Instead, you elected not to participate meaningfully in the appeal process."
Hargrove received an eight-game ban, Smith was hit with a four-game suspension while Fujita got three games.
The ruling came after Goodell held an appeals hearing with the players last month.