NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Recuses Himself In New Orleans Saints Bounty Hearing
The NFL announced Friday that Commissioner Roger Goodell will not hear or rule on the appeals of the four players suspended in the Saints bounty scandal.
Instead that duty will go to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who was instrumental in keeping in the Saints in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. Goodell says the appointment of Tagliabue as the arbitrator will help “decide the appeals and bring the matter to a prompt and fair conclusion.”
The appeals hearing was also pushed back one week to October 30th.
Linebacker Johnathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith are the two current Saints players affected by this move; defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and linebacker Scott Fujita are the two ex-Saints players involved the bounty scandal as well. Vilma and Smith can play, while they appeal their suspensions.
“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,” Vilma’s attorney, Peter Ginsberg, told ESPN’s Ed Werder.
Vilma is still on the physically unable to perform list, but there is a chance he’ll be taken off that list and play this Sunday against Tampa Bay.
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