Roger Goodell Has Recused Himself From The Bounty Appeal In Favor Of Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue
You know that whole bounty thing, the one in which Roger Goodell suspended four players, an appeals panel overturned the suspensions and Goodell overturned the overturning? Yeah, that one. Well, now there's an appeal of the overturning of the appeal of the original suspensions, and Roger Goodell was set to hear the appeal.
The hypocrisy of Goodell hearing an appeal on a case for which he handed out judgment is plainly obvious, and pressure was mounting for Goodell to recuse himself for the sake of fairness, even if the current Collective Bargaining Agreement reinforces the legality of Goodell's role as judge, jury and executioner. But it appears that today Goodell has actually recused himself, issuing a statement to the NFLPA that Paul Tagliabue, former NFL commissioner from 1989-2006, is set to preside over the latest appeal.
Here's the statement from Goodell:
"“I have held two hearings to date, and have modified the discipline in several respects based on my recent meetings with the players. To bring this matter to a prompt and fair conclusion, I have appointed former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to serve as the hearing officer for the upcoming appeals. Paul Tagliabue is a genuine football authority whose tenure as commissioner was marked by his thorough and judicious approach to all matters. He has many years of experience in NFL collective bargaining matters and an impeccable reputation for integrity.
“To be clear, I have not consulted with Paul Tagliabue at any point about the Saints matter nor has he been any part of the process. Furthermore, under our process the hearing officer has full authority and complete independence to decide the appeal and determine any procedural issues regarding the hearings. I will have no role in the upcoming hearings or in Mr. Tagliabue’s decisions.
"Commissioner Tagliabue’s deep experience in professional football and his reputation for integrity and sound judgment, as well as his understanding of the CBA, the parties’ past practices, issues surrounding player safety rules and the integrity of the game, make him singularly qualified to hear and decide the appeals in an efficient and fair manner for all concerned.”
Ah yes, INTEGRITY OF THE GAME. Let's not forget about INTEGRITY, people. Although this does seem like a tangible victory on the surface for the NFLPA and the current and former Saints players who have been suspended, remember that Goodell was once Tagliabue's underling and Tagliabue could be naturally biased in the NFL's favor. It remains to be seen how this will all play out, but Tagliabue's decision could be very telling.
Photo via Getty
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