The suspended players who were connected to the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal will have their suspension appeals heard by the league on October 30th. While Commissioner Roger Goodell was initially expected to hear the appeals, he informed NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith that he has recused himself from the hearing.
With Goodell out of the picture, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue will hear the suspended players appeal. The league issued an official statement on the news.
“I have held two hearings to date,” Goodell said, “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.”
This could be the first time that Goodell has handled something in the bounty case correctly and respectfully so he needs to be recognized and applauded for that. A time and place has not officially been decided on for the appeal hearing.