Skip to content

Next phase of bounty case will focus on claim Goodell wasn’t impartial

109993837_crop_650x440 Getty Images

Now that Commissioner Roger Goodell has ruled on the bounty appeals, the ball is back in the players’ court.  And they plan to aim it directly at Commissioner Roger Goodell.

To little surprise, the players whose suspensions became official on Tuesday will file a lawsuit challenging the ruling.  Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma already has.  A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita will do the same by Thursday.

The effort will commence, as we previously have explained, with a StarCaps-style effort to block the suspensions until the litigation is resolved.  The lawsuit itself will assert that Goodell lacked the requisite impartiality to serve as the arbitrator.

It’s one of the four ways that an arbitration award can be overturned in a court of law, where judges don’t substitute their own judgment but where judges ensure that the arbitrator acted fairly and properly.  In this specific case, the players will point to Goodell’s public statements regarding the bounty case as proof that he made up his mind before assuming the role of judge and jury in the appeal process.

The lawsuit also will target the league’s failure to produce within 72 hours before the June 18 appeal hearing the exhibits to be introduced, based on the requirement in the CBA that all exhibits be exchanged within three days before the hearing.

Many will be inclined to fault the players and the NFLPA for taking this approach, arguing that the players should accept the process for which their union bargained under the CBA.  But they bargained for a fair and impartial process; if they didn’t get it, they have every right to fight the suspensions on that basis.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
35 Responses to “Next phase of bounty case will focus on claim Goodell wasn’t impartial”
  1. jakek2 says: Jul 3, 2012 6:40 PM

    Many will be inclined to fault the players and the NFLPA for taking this approach, arguing that the players should accept the process for which their union bargained under the CBA. But they bargained for a fair and impartial process; if they didn’t get it, they have every right to fight the suspensions on that basis.
    ———–
    You’re wasting your breath Mike. Like Goodell, you aren’t changing the minds of people on this site who think the owners and Goodell can do no wrong.

  2. terraj35 says: Jul 3, 2012 6:42 PM

    WHO CARES! nothing is going to change. These players need to get over it and move on.

  3. jeff4life says: Jul 3, 2012 6:46 PM

    Its going to be hard claiming Goodell was impartial when during the appeal you didnt present any evidence.

    The players are getting poor advice.

    Mike you need to stay impartial yourself you seem to have an agenda for the players.

  4. jpb12 says: Jul 3, 2012 6:47 PM

    What’s in it for Goodell to go after the Saints and the players?

    Makes no sense. This whole thing is a black eye for the NFL. Doesn’t advance his standing or the NFL’s.

  5. shzastl says: Jul 3, 2012 8:16 PM

    The 72 hour argument is weak. The players would’ve had to present some evidence of their own for it to matter. They should have done so, then argued in court that the NFL was barred from using its exhibits per the CBA by not turning them over 72 hours prior to the hearing, so the players win the appeal automatically because they are the only side with evidence of record.

  6. bigwalt2990 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:20 PM

    Goodell doesnt have to be impartial. This is NFL court, not US court, not ARMY court…..Goodell court. And the NFLPA signed off on it when they agreed on the CBA. Sorry Vilma, I really do fell for you. Life isn’t fair.

  7. mrpowers88 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:22 PM

    Wow… my comment saying the NFLPA is incompetent for:

    1. Agreeing to a system that makes Goodell judge, jury, and executioner

    and

    2. Not being able to see how that could be a problem, like it is now

    got deleted. How ’bout you try harder to bias this site to the players?

    Is Goodell in the right here? No he is not, but he has the power and if he uses it wrongly, the players can try to take it away from him in 9 years when this CBA runs its course.

  8. buccaroo989 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:26 PM

    The saints players are acting like criminals.the only defense any have used so far is to discredit the process because the evidence has been overwhelming. Now they still refuse to talk to Godell because they would not be able to keep telling everyone he wouldn’t listen. I would love to see them actually address the evidence for once.

  9. mike5011ad says: Jul 3, 2012 8:28 PM

    @jpb12

    I think that this clearly is a pr move by the NFL. The NFL has been trying to push for 18 games for a while. Only over the past year or so has player health become an issue. The NFL is going to get sued by players. Whether that is right or wrong is another debate, but they need to present evidence that they attempted to do something to help the health of the players. They don’t require players to wear state-of-the-art helmets. They don’t require them to wear mouth pieces. They allow them to take pills in order to play in games. Only recently have they looked at concussions seriously. This is a feather in the cap of the NFL. They can say that they care about the safety of the players when they inevitably end up in court and/or push for 18 games again. All they have to do is say, “See! We tried to help out the players but it’s their fault that they are injured, not ours!”

  10. rockthered1286 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:32 PM

    Im just waiting for the players to start turning against each other now. Then the real show can begin.

    Tick…tick…tick…tick…….

  11. cincylaw says: Jul 3, 2012 8:33 PM

    You cannot prove a negative. Thats why the burden is on the NFL to prove the case. They havent shown the players that evidence, so the NFL has not met their burden. The players dont have to disprove anything.

    If there was evidence presentrd, the players can challenge the evidence. Without that, how can they ‘prove’ they didnt do something?

  12. silentcount says: Jul 3, 2012 8:53 PM

    So exactly how was Vilma suppose to prove he didn’t do what Goodell publicly accused him of after saying he didn’t do it? What’s available other than cross examining the “witness”? Goodell says no, you’re not allowed to do that. Vilma says, yes I am if I take it to a higher authority. Taking it to court was really is his only option, where Goodell himself may find that he is the one found guilty of intentionally injuring players. Goodell brought this on himself and the NFL will be a better place without him.

  13. benchwarmer69 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:58 PM

    Now, how exactly are they going to prove Goodell had it out for them?

    I’m seriously doubting they have him on tape.

    Besides, the Saints are a big name right now, which SELLS…everything. Why exactly would he want to hurt that in any way, even IF he disliked them.?

  14. jaydog76 says: Jul 3, 2012 9:08 PM

    jpb12 says:
    Jul 3, 2012 6:47 PM
    What’s in it for Goodell to go after the Saints and the players?

    Makes no sense. This whole thing is a black eye for the NFL. Doesn’t advance his standing or the NFL’s.

     —————————-
    What he gains is the fear and intimidation factor over the entire league. That includes coaches, players, and even his employers…. The owners.

    Funny how those factors are “admired” coming from the commish, but considered abuse in most other situations, spouse or child abuse for example. I’m not trying to compare them to one another, just pointing out how the same words are used with contrasting situations and results.

  15. jaydog76 says: Jul 3, 2012 9:16 PM

    terraj35 says:
    Jul 3, 2012 6:42 PM
    WHO CARES! nothing is going to change. These players need to get over it and move on.

     ——————–
    A lot care bro, the commish screwed the pooch royally on this one. Sadly though, I don’t think much will change. I think Goodell is dead wrong on the whole thing. Personally, I think the media blew it way up and too fast. This put Goodell in the position that he felt he had to do something that warrants that $20mil/yr salary. He grabbed the first set of names that he thought he had enough “evidence” on and went with it.

    The whole situation has gotten to the point where his ego or his pride won’t allow him to do anything other than steer the course…. Thanks again to the media.

  16. stew48 says: Jul 3, 2012 9:17 PM

    Methinks RG just roared into this, thinking he could do not wrong and would be viewed as a hero, doing what is best for the NFL. And, it seems he is the one who has been very badly advised.

    Further, the 72 hour business is more important than has been acknowledged. If you want to play by all the rules, you MUST abide by all the rules, and RG and the NFL did not. It doesn’t matter at all that they claim there were three different days, etc., they are cooked. The injunction will be granted, if for no other reason than the failure of the NFL to abide by rules they had agreed to. Sound familiar, player haters?

  17. northeastkiller says: Jul 3, 2012 9:42 PM

    What’s in it for Goodell to go after the Saints? Uh, have something to wave around at the concussion lawsuits as proof They Care About Player Safety Much? Prevent the league from losing a judgment for hundreds of millions in a worst case scenario?

    Makes plenty of damn sense to me.

  18. zxrated says: Jul 3, 2012 9:47 PM

    It’s really tiresome hearing all the Goodell apologist claiming what’s in it for him to go after the Saint players? Well there’s this lawsuit looming where former player are suing the league over concussions. Goodell needs to show that the leauge is serious about player safety. The league sat on the concussion plight all throughout the 90′s til recently and this is there way to deflect that. If I were a defensive player groomed in the tradition of Greg Williams/Bill Cowher/Jeff Fisher/Mike Ditka, like coaches from high school up and now told I have be the scapegoat for that, I’d fight back too.

    “If you punch the QB in the mouth enough he will think twice under center, Slober knock, Ring his bell, Jacked up, Bone crushing hits, Doomsday defense, Purple people eaters, Orange crush, come across the middle and get knocked out, ETC…” These are not as raw as the Greg Williams audio but they are terms we’ve all come to accept as the culture of football. Its a violent sport by nature, the object of the defender is to dislodge the ball from it carrier!

  19. robf2010 says: Jul 3, 2012 9:52 PM

    “What’s in it for Goodell to go after the Saints and the players?”

    I doubt there was much ulterior motive on his part at first. I just think he oversold it sorta like the umpire who doesn’t know if the runner is out or safe. The idea is to hope someone will say something like, “He wouldn’t go through all of those motions if it wasn’t true”.

    He doesn’t have the courage to say, “We might have gotten some of this wrong and maybe these penalties were too much.”. He and the league are sticking to things they know are wrong.

  20. robf2010 says: Jul 3, 2012 9:58 PM

    “Mike you need to stay impartial yourself you seem to have an agenda for the players.”

    You should go back and look at some of his earlier postings. He was pretty much on the NFL bandwagon at first. As evidence and non-evidence started to come out, his position evolved. A few hang-em-high posters have evolved, a few more have stuck by their guns, but a good many of them just disappeared.

  21. nygmenruleny says: Jul 3, 2012 9:58 PM

    Not with you on this one Mike. The NFLPA didn’t bargin for a “fair and impartial process”. They left all the power in the hands of the Commish and focused on money and less contact in practices. That is what they are trying to fix in court.

  22. 6thsense79 says: Jul 3, 2012 10:01 PM

    shzastl says:Jul 3, 2012 8:16 PM

    The 72 hour argument is weak. The players would’ve had to present some evidence of their own for it to matter. They should have done so, then argued in court that the NFL was barred from using its exhibits per the CBA by not turning them over 72 hours prior to the hearing, so the players win the appeal automatically because they are the only side with evidence of record.
    —————————
    Hold up….So the players are the only ones that have ad hear to the CBA. The CBA plainly states the league is to turn over evidence they plan to use 72 hours before an apeal. That’s black and white. Also I don’t know where you got the idea the players had to present their own evidence within 24 hours but you’re dead wrong. That’s not in the CBA. I swear. Where do you guys even come up with this?

  23. 6thsense79 says: Jul 3, 2012 10:05 PM

    jpb12 says:Jul 3, 2012 6:47 PM

    What’s in it for Goodell to go after the Saints and the players?

    Makes no sense. This whole thing is a black eye for the NFL. Doesn’t advance his standing or the NFL’s
    ——————————
    How about multi billions of dollars if he can go to court and use this as exhibit A that the league is concern about head injuries and player safety. You act like the Saints would cease to exist because of this. What exactly is the impact to the league if they suspend a handful of players and coaches on one team? Sacrafice a few people to potentially save billions upon billions of dollars in multiple lawsuits? Sounds like a good motive to me.

  24. parttimer1 says: Jul 3, 2012 10:17 PM

    Article 46, Section (f)(ii): “In appeals under Section 1(a), the parties shall exchange copies of any exhibits upon which they intend to rely no later than three (3) calendar days prior to the hearing.

  25. bayouranch says: Jul 3, 2012 10:31 PM

    Roger has worked real hard to get the Vikings a New Stadium this off season, funny they are also the ones he is fighting this bounty thing for also. The Vikings didn’t like how the playoff game went in 2009 and wanted payback, but it was a fair game.

  26. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Jul 3, 2012 10:37 PM

    Even if the suspended players win the “battle” and are granted preliminary injunctive relief now that Commissioner Goodell has issued his appeals ruling and affirmed their suspensions, my gut tells me that the league and the Commissioner will eventually win the “war.” In my opinion, two of the weaker challenges the players may make relate to: (1) the league’s alleged non-compliance with the “three calendar day” discovery requirement under Article 46, Section 2(f)(ii) of the 2011 NFL CBA; and, (2) the alleged failure by Commissioner Goodell to act impartially. First, Article 46, Section 3 (Time Limits) clearly contemplates that Goodell upon a motion by the league can adjourn the appeal hearing for such additional time so as to remedy any non-compliance arising out of Section 2(f)(ii). And second, I find nothing in the league’s March 21 press release announcing management discipline that impeaches Goodell’s ability to act as an impartial hearing officer for the suspended players. Importantly, Goodell was even quoted to say, “…I will NOT (emphasis added) address player conduct at this time… .” That weighs heavily against any argument that Goodell had made conclusions prior to hearing the case of the accused players. P.S. Happy 4th PFT Planet!

  27. atwatercrushesokoye says: Jul 3, 2012 10:58 PM

    cincylaw: This is the appeals process the burden of proof in an appeal is fully on the party appealing, the NFL found them guilty based on the evidence they have (the players didn’t meet with Goodell before hand to see and dispute this evidence) once the players filed an appeal it becomes there job to prove that they are wronglyfully accused.

    You can dislike it all you want but that’s the process.

  28. percey12 says: Jul 3, 2012 11:38 PM

    3 calender days, not 36 hours.

    Look at me (just like Vilma) arguing about the details of CBA, instead of saying

    “yeah, I tried to kill the head of that 40 year old man for $35,000!”

  29. rabbdogg says: Jul 4, 2012 1:13 AM

    why is it the playets need to follow the cba…put goodell punk azz dont have too….72 hours idiots..is 3 days idiots…goodell not being able to punish players for ANYTHING before 2011 is also in the cba…which means that hargrove made up ” give me my money” b.s. was in 2009…vilma and the saints played kurt warner and brandy farve in 2009…fujita last played for the saints in the 2009 season….the players have every right to sue goodell punk azz…follow the cba that u agreed to goodell

  30. sonny113006 says: Jul 4, 2012 11:08 AM

    Maybe someone can tell me the answer to this. A few years ago the Williams Bros. of the Minnesota Vikings were tested and turned up positive for a illegal substance. They hung it up in the court system in Minnesota and were able to play until the courts ruled. Can these players do the same thing? Is that what they’re doing? If someone could explain it would be appreciated.

  31. neilnixon says: Jul 4, 2012 11:30 AM

    For you people who don’t believe Goodell is going after the Saints, answer this for me: Why did Goodell take away the draft picks?

    What do draft picks have to do with “Bounty Gate” anyway???? Williams set this up: he’s suspended. Payton, Loomis, Vitt let it go on: suspended. Vilma, Smith, Fajita, Hargrove — suspended! Why should the Commissioner hurt the on-field future of the team for past actions when he’s already penalized…very harshly…those who did the dirty deeds? There ares at least 35 other players on that team that weren’t involved, so why penalize them…or the fans (who still have to pay full price for their tickets) by taking away draft picks and potentially hurting the team’s future performance? Affecting the competitive balance of the league is WAY BEYOND what a Commissioner should be able to do.

    It’s like a high school suspending your kid for bad behavior and trying to garnish the parent’s future wages.

    Other than vindictiveness and Goodell wanting to make sure the team’s future performance is impacted as much as possible, can somebody PLEASE somebody enlighten me with the rationale for taking away future draft picks for past actions when you’ve already harshly penalized those responsble?

  32. footballchic777 says: Jul 4, 2012 11:50 AM

    If I accuse anyone on here of committing a crime, find you guilty, yet offer no proof of how I found you guilty, how are you going to defend yourselves? This is basically what King Roger has done. I am sorry, that IS NOT “fair and just”. The players and the NFLPA ask for proof of the offenses that rated the punishment that was dealt to these players and coaches, and were refused by the King! Yes, the NFLPA was STUPID to agree to this in the CBA but there has to be a recourse for blatant disregard of the fair process. Roger Goodell is trying to appear concerned now, covering his own butt and that of the NFL, otherwise this would have been dealt with 3 years ago! And to add to that, he is pissed that the players DARED to challenge his authority. If he has the PROOF that he says he allegedly has, there should be no problem sharing it.

  33. CKL says: Jul 4, 2012 3:57 PM

    Do I think Goodell has an agenda? ABSOLUTELY. His way is to take something and make a HUGE example out of that person or team so that his/NFL’s point is driven home. Then fans of other teams can all troll about how horrible whatever it was and say “SEE…the amount they were punished PROVES how horrible it was!!!!” This is no exception.

    I agree that if Goodell violated any tenet of the CBA then the players should seek recourse. I could do without all this garbage PR stuff from both sides though, much like with the lockout.

    That said, I still reserve the right to criticize the players for agreeing to this power structure in the CBA without much of a fight because they had several instances of Goodell’s MO as examples before they negotiated this deal. If it’s the devil you know, ignorance is not a factor or excuse.

    It was interesting to hear Woody and Wiley, two obviously pro player guys but pretty much say yesterday on NFL Live that the players agreed to this structure, now they have to deal with it.

  34. chi01town says: Jul 5, 2012 2:59 AM

    @neilnixon
    You understand perfectly whats going on.. Goodell IS out to hurt the Saints, .. Not to say they dont deserve it but the Saints are not alone… Goodell wants to hurt ALL 32 teams. He wants to stop the kicking game,.. Hes made defense a penalty an a fine,.. An he wants to End the pro bowl all together. So the Saints are not alone

  35. xakle says: Jul 5, 2012 3:01 PM

    rhodeislandpatriotsfan says:Jul 3, 2012 10:37 PM

    And second, I find nothing in the league’s March 21 press release announcing management discipline that impeaches Goodell’s ability to act as an impartial hearing officer for the suspended players. Importantly, Goodell was even quoted to say, “…I will NOT (emphasis added) address player conduct at this time… .” That weighs heavily against any argument that Goodell had made conclusions prior to hearing the case of the accused players.
    ____________________________

    Because you’re only looking at one released statement. You can find TV interviews he did on NFL Network on March 21st, as well as several days later, where he stated that the players were “Targeting opposing players and intentionally injuring them” as well as that “The evidence is clear that the players embraced and actively participated in the program.”

    All of this happened before ruling on player punishments or hearing appeals on those punishments. It’s clear that his mind was already made up long before issuing any punishments.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!