In a stunning announcement made on Friday afternoon by the National Football League, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will not hear the appeal made by the four players who were suspended by the league as a result of the New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal. Instead, the case will be handled by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
On Friday Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove were all informed that Tagliabue will be the person responsible for hearing their appeals to the suspensions and then determining what their fates will then be.
Last week the NFLPA and the four players themselves asked that Goodell please remove himself from hearing the appeals and finally Goodell did so. Vilma’s attorney Peter Ginsberg had the following statement once the news was released, “The commissioner’s decision today makes it clear to us that he’s finally been convinced there is no way he could ever have been a fair and neutral arbitrator.”
Tagliabue is very well qualified to hear the appeals for several reasons, one being that he graduated from New York University Law School in 1965 and was the NFL commissioner 1989-2006 when he handed the reigns over to Goodell. Goodell also served as the league’s general counsel during a part of his tenure.
Goodell said, “I will have no role in the upcoming hearings or Mr. Tagliabue’s decisions.”
The appeal hearings for the four players is scheduled to be held on Tuesday however no date has been released as to when Tagliabue will reach his decision and the fate of the players will be revealed.