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Bounty case settlement conference occurs Monday

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Peter King of SI.com is back from vacation, and the opening portion of his Monday Morning Quarterback column served as a reminder that today is the day on which a U.S. magistrate judge will preside over an effort to resolve the lawsuits filed in connection with the bounty-related suspensions.

We’ve confirmed that the conference is still set to occur, and that it will begin at 10:30 a.m. ET.

It’s a non-binding process.  The parties are required to participate in good faith, but they’re not required to settle the case.  And the magistrate judge will have no authority to issue rulings or make decisions regarding whether the suspensions of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, or Browns linebacker Scott Fujita will stand.

That said, the magistrate judge will be able to meet privately with each side, pointing out weaknesses that Judge Helen G. Berrigan perceives in their respective positions.  And if the magistrate judge is sufficiently persuasive, a compromise could be reached.

Still, it’s highly unlikely.  The parties have pitched tents at each extreme, with no sign of wiggle room.  The players want to be exonerated, and the league can’t afford to show weakness on this issue.

And so it would be a shock at this point if Thursday’s hearing on linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s effort to block his suspension pending the outcome of the litigation doesn’t proceed as scheduled.

Last year, a magistrate judge ultimately brokered a settlement of the lockout, which ended 52 weeks ago today.  But that dispute was always destined to end via an agreement among the parties.  This one has always seems like a controversy that would careen its way into a courtroom, where one side will win completely — and the other side will lose completely.

UPDATE 11:18 a.m. ET:  Per the Associated Press, Vilma said while entering the courthouse that he’s “hoping we can get something accomplished.”  Making that actually happen remains a long shot.

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9 Responses to “Bounty case settlement conference occurs Monday”
  1. gumerk says: Jul 23, 2012 9:45 AM

    Win, Lose, or Draw_As a New Orleans Saints fan I want the truth, no matter what that may be.

  2. geauxjay says: Jul 23, 2012 9:56 AM

    All Goodell has todo is share his “evidence” and this will go away. You can’t just say “I have it” at a point when everything that has been shared or leaked has been proven false.

  3. bigball1 says: Jul 23, 2012 10:03 AM

    It is just good that this is moving toward a neutral third party being in the mix. If this was ever handled out in the open without the commissioner basically hiding the investigation, the evidence and then to have actually requested the response from the players BEFORE penalizing them, we would not be in this mess. Acting in a fair manner should not be something that has to be in a CBA.
    It is really kind of hard to think how this could have been handled worse……

  4. ravenmuscle says: Jul 23, 2012 10:11 AM

    No contest

    Goodell wins…Vilma loses

  5. ravenmuscle says: Jul 23, 2012 10:15 AM

    Also when the players agreed to the new CBA they clearly gave Goodell TOTAL power and jurisdiction over player conduct ON and OFF the field..

    Now they want to put the toothpaste back into the tube…AIN’T HAPPENIN’

  6. paulnoga says: Jul 23, 2012 10:28 AM

    For those of you that don’t get it: all of the testimonies against the guilty players is confidential and their anonymity was guaranteed by the NFL. All of the impartial investigators that were allowed to review all the data, agreed that the NFL was right. The NFL was not hiding, but protecting the witnesses. Even if the courts rule to get all the testimonies, the players will still be guilty, just the witnesses will be known.

  7. geauxjay says: Jul 23, 2012 11:10 AM

    All of the impartial investigators that were allowed to review all the data, agreed that the NFL was right
    ——————–
    Say what? The only “impartial reviewer” in the case is on retainer to the NFL, prosecuted the case for the NFL, and said that Anthony Hargrove said “give me my money” because you could see his lips moving.

  8. saintsfaninfla says: Jul 23, 2012 7:49 PM

    For those of you that don’t get it: all of the testimonies against the guilty players is confidential and their anonymity was guaranteed by the NFL. All of the impartial investigators that were allowed to review all the data, agreed that the NFL was right. The NFL was not hiding, but protecting the witnesses. Even if the courts rule to get all the testimonies, the players will still be guilty, just the witnesses will be known.
    ___________________

    this is not serious is it? I really hope you never make it on a jury if so.
    A person paid to investigate a case and come up with their own conclusions about the facts, credibility of witnesses, (of course in favor of the person paying them) etc., is NOT evidence. Fox guarding the hen house.

    What Goodell presented at the hearing was the equivalent of an attorney’s opening or closing statement at trial … that parties wishful thinking of what the attorney HOPES he can prove to the jury. You don’t just take the word of the attorney that tells you what you should believe.

  9. saintsfaninfla says: Jul 23, 2012 7:51 PM

    And Goodell doesn’t even bother to show up at the mediation, so it appears it was a useless exercise from the get go.

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