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Goodell recuses himself from bounty appeal hearing

Executive director of the NFL Players Association Smith and NFL Commissioner Goodell speak outside the NFL Players Association Headquarters in Washington Reuters

In a move that will make the ultimate discipline applied to the players involved in the Saints bounty case even stronger, Commissioner Roger Goodell has recused himself from Tuesday’s appeal hearing.

The announcement came from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith on Twitter.

Per Smith, Goodell will hand the baton to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

It’s a power the Commissioner possess under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.  And Smith got advance notice because the CBA requires Goodell to consult with the NFLPA.

It’s a smart move.  Goodell was and is too close to the case.  It would have been virtually impossible for him to be truly objective and impartial.  And by picking Tagliabue, Goodell is keeping the decision in the hands of a Commissioner-level arbitrator — with Goodell hoping Tagliabue will reach the same decision that Goodell reached.  And if Tagliabue ultimately upholds Goodell’s decision, it will be harder for the players to obtain a reversal of the decision.

Then again, the players may welcome the move.  After all, Tagliabue was the Commissioner in 1996, when the league allegedly condoned the “Smash for Cash” program.

And who was the Executive V.P. of League and Football Development at the time, the precursor to the current “Football Operations” department?  Roger Goodell.

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64 Responses to “Goodell recuses himself from bounty appeal hearing”
  1. nikkodawg says: Oct 19, 2012 1:56 PM

    Fire Goodell

  2. electionconfidential says: Oct 19, 2012 1:57 PM

    Not that they cut a deal or anything…

  3. touchdownroddywhite says: Oct 19, 2012 1:58 PM

    Well played, sir. Well played indeed.

  4. fitzmagic1212 says: Oct 19, 2012 1:58 PM

    Wish paul was still the commish

  5. eaglesw00t says: Oct 19, 2012 1:58 PM

    I like the idea of Tagliabue. Keeps the notion that the comissioner SHOULD have the final say. Who better to preside than a former comissioner.

    Of course its still going to go to court though. There is no way this does not go to court short of every single problem being vacated.

  6. saintsfan26 says: Oct 19, 2012 1:58 PM

    No other comments needed. Nikkodawg nailed it.

  7. paigek22 says: Oct 19, 2012 1:59 PM

    Why Roger…. You can’t handle it???

  8. jmoss850 says: Oct 19, 2012 1:59 PM

    How much longer does Goddell have in power?

  9. ilifadeili says: Oct 19, 2012 1:59 PM

    Goodell called daddy to come clean the poop from his pants.

  10. latchbeam says: Oct 19, 2012 2:00 PM

    He should have recused himself a LONG time ago!

  11. btrwhodat says: Oct 19, 2012 2:00 PM

    its all starting to unravel

  12. sdisme says: Oct 19, 2012 2:01 PM

    Right after the owners meetings. Interesting….

  13. tos420 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:01 PM

    “He has formally notified me that he will recused himself”

    You mean RECUSE? D Smith is an idiot.

  14. pkrjones says: Oct 19, 2012 2:03 PM

    The house of cards begins to fall. How can the NFL (and Goodell) possibly “win” this one?

    Goodell loses all credibility in either outcome: if the punishment is upheld it shows he didn’t have the cajones to stick by his initial ruling and weather the storm; if Tagliabue overturns suspensions or significantly decreases them then it was clearly Goodell overstepping his authority… no win situation.

    I agreed with the initial punishments, but now it’s become a circus.

  15. ldfontenot says: Oct 19, 2012 2:03 PM

    I think this is great news (and i don’t think Mr. Goodell recused himself willingly; i think – and could be wrong- that the owners told him to do do). Tags really is a lawyer so he understands evidence as opposed to “well, chilly said he heard it from Kennedy who heard it from Hargrove” etc.

    Will he be able to reduce coaches suspensions?

  16. bucs13 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:04 PM

    Brilliant.

    The only colorable legal basis the players had was that the decision-maker (Goodell) had pre-judged the situation based on his prior comments.

    This kneecaps the legal argument, which was a stretch to begin with.

  17. marthisdil says: Oct 19, 2012 2:05 PM

    Will be fun if Tagliabue comes back and puts the smack down on em.

    And, as far as the courts blocking the league from punishing the players like Vilma….they can’t really – not without voiding the CBA.

    They can do something in Vilma’s defamation case, but punishment inside the league covered by the CBA, they can’t.

    Vilma’s too stupid to realize it.

  18. marthisdil says: Oct 19, 2012 2:06 PM

    paigek22 says: Oct 19, 2012 1:59 PM

    Why Roger…. You can’t handle it???

    ==================

    he can – but the players arguments look even weaker if Tagliabue comes back and upholds the decision.

    it’s a great move that takes a LOT of wind out of the player’s sails.

  19. clickablecontent says: Oct 19, 2012 2:07 PM

    Bwahahahaha! Goodell steps aside and Tagliabu walks in! NFLPA just got good cop/bad copped. I can’t stop laughing.

  20. marthisdil says: Oct 19, 2012 2:07 PM

    pkrjones says: Oct 19, 2012 2:03 PM

    The house of cards begins to fall. How can the NFL (and Goodell) possibly “win” this one?

    Goodell loses all credibility in either outcome: if the punishment is upheld it shows he didn’t have the cajones to stick by his initial ruling and weather the storm; if Tagliabue overturns suspensions or significantly decreases them then it was clearly Goodell overstepping his authority… no win situation.

    I agreed with the initial punishments, but now it’s become a circus.

    ===================

    Actually, this is a good legal move. If Tagliabue upholds the decisions, it makes the player’s biggest argument – that Goodell was judge, jury, executioner, and arbiter. Now that Tag’s the arbiter, they have less legal standing.

  21. FANof28 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:09 PM

    So what is everyones excuse going to be when tagliabue reaches the same conclusion as goodell? Can we finally get over the fact the there was a bounty, as admitted by the coach who started it, and there is no conspiracy going on against the saints ?

  22. dvdman123 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:11 PM

    Hey who is paying Tagliabue? If it’s the NFL then well we all know what the outcome will be.

  23. nbaraie says: Oct 19, 2012 2:13 PM

    SHAM! Anyone really think Tagliabue is going to undermine his protege Goodell?

  24. mdd913 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:16 PM

    First sensible thing he’s done in a while; I have a hard time being he did it willingly, though.

  25. jlinatl says: Oct 19, 2012 2:17 PM

    Wise move. I just wish it had been done a month ago.

  26. mossnvick says: Oct 19, 2012 2:17 PM

    mate in three

  27. mdd913 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:19 PM

    FANof28 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:09 PM

    So what is everyones excuse going to be when tagliabue reaches the same conclusion as goodell? Can we finally get over the fact the there was a bounty, as admitted by the coach who started it, and there is no conspiracy going on against the saints ?

    —————————————————-

    Unlike Goodell, Tagliabue is a fair and just man with the ability and inclination to sort through ALL the EVIDENCE and make a fair ruling. That’s all anyone ever asked for.

  28. kattykathy says: Oct 19, 2012 2:21 PM

    Seriously?

    This will not please the players, DeMo, nor Judge Berrigan. So Goodell recuses himself and hands the power to render discipline over to his mentor and former boss?
    Why would Tags do anything other than support his former apprentice?

    This is a laughable effort to hand over power to an “impartial” authority.

    Berrigan is gonna tear into the league, just watch

  29. golfnutt67 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:23 PM

    I hope Tags throws that hammer at these fools for how long this mess has drug out.

  30. SeenThisB4 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:23 PM

    In the meantime, Vilma plays this week!

  31. btrwhodat says: Oct 19, 2012 2:24 PM

    Why would Tags do anything other than support his former apprentice?

    This is a laughable effort to hand over power to an “impartial” authority.

    Berrigan is gonna tear into the league, just watch
    ————————————————-

    agreed…this is sort of making a mockery of the process

  32. dvdman123 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:26 PM

    Tagiliabue is an x-NFL commisioner still probably receiving a nice pension/benefits from the NFL. I can’t see how he can be a fair and impartial judge. In addition does anyone really think the NFL would be stupid enough to have him do this if there was any chance he would rule in favor of the players……come on man!!!!!!!!!!

  33. rockthered1286 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:31 PM

    2 things I’ve learned from reading this story and the comments:
    #1- Apparently everyone thinks that the NFL should go ahead and assign Sean Payton to make the bountygate decision and Goddell should fire himself and the Saints should be granted a 6-0 record to date for their hardships. The Rog pulled himself out. Brought in someone with actual football knowledge. And it’s not good enough. No matter who he assigned everyone would keep crying PAYOFF! Stop crying folks.
    #2- Thanks to all of the conspiracy theorists, I have made a conscious decision to invest my money into Reynold Wrap. With the amount of tin foil helmets going around NO, I’m expecting to double my investment in no time.

  34. ldfontenot says: Oct 19, 2012 2:34 PM

    My mantra throughout this mess has been that every reasonable person (which may not apply to all who post here) thinks the Saints deserve some punishment, but what the Commissioner did was overreach (as stated by the 3 member panel – two of whom are very conservative Judges appointed by BUsh and Reagan – when they overturned the suspensions,)and overpunish, because the NFL has for years had a callous diregard for player safety and Goodell now wants to change that perception. Every. Reasonable. Person. I think Tags is a reasonable person.

  35. chicagobtech says: Oct 19, 2012 2:39 PM

    To be frank, I think Goodell should be the person who handles the appeals rather than the initial hearings. For all suspensions.

  36. phreakin says: Oct 19, 2012 2:39 PM

    Goodell can’t win on this either way with people. No matter who would have been his replacement at the appeal hearings people would accuse them of colluding to keep the suspensions. The3re was a bounty program. Vilma helped run it. How anyone can’t see that is BEYOND me. Forget anything the NFL has said, just look at how many times the players have changed their tactics. First it was there was no program, then it was well there was a program but not for injuries. Then it was there wasn’t a program now it’s well they were doing them in the mod 90’s so what’s wrong with us doing it? If anyone wants to be pissed at someone, be pissed at the players. They were the ones doing it and even if you don’t believe that, then they were the ones who AGREED to make Goodell the final say.

  37. nflofficeadmin says: Oct 19, 2012 2:40 PM

    Roger – a bit of a poseur wouldn’t you say..

  38. kattykathy says: Oct 19, 2012 2:43 PM

    To those that STILL make “tin foil hat” comments, even though it has been played out, just show that they themselves must own a closet full of aluminum fedoras.

  39. 6thsense79 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:44 PM

    Actually I see this as the league being petrified of going to court and having information turn up under discovery that they would rather not have come to light. Even if the league ends up winning the court case what comes out in discovery could be embarrassing or put a negative light on the league. The only entity this league fears are the courts.

    This is the best move they could make in order to somehow weaken the players’ case. I also fully believe a few owners stepped in and insisted this gets done.

  40. baloneyjohn says: Oct 19, 2012 2:45 PM

    OK, he got something correct.
    Resign to make it better

  41. FANof28 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:48 PM

    mdd913 says:
    Oct 19, 2012 2:19 PM
    FANof28 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:09 PM

    So what is everyones excuse going to be when tagliabue reaches the same conclusion as goodell? Can we finally get over the fact the there was a bounty, as admitted by the coach who started it, and there is no conspiracy going on against the saints ?

    —————————————————-

    Unlike Goodell, Tagliabue is a fair and just man with the ability and inclination to sort through ALL the EVIDENCE and make a fair ruling. That’s all anyone ever asked for.
    —————————————-
    But if Tagliabue reaches the same conclusion with the same evidence as Goodell had doesnt that mean the Goodell made a fair ruling also? People like Tagliabue and thats the only difference

  42. mdd913 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:51 PM

    FANof28 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:48 PM
    But if Tagliabue reaches the same conclusion with the same evidence as Goodell

    —————————————————-

    He won’t. No logical, impartial person would.

  43. 6thsense79 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:58 PM

    Fanof28,

    I’ll wait and see. If Tags doesn’t allow the players to confront their accusers then nothing much has changed.

  44. phreakin says: Oct 19, 2012 3:05 PM

    Funny, I was impartial to all of this and I think there was a pay to injure system in place.

  45. harrisonhits2 says: Oct 19, 2012 3:28 PM

    “mdd913 says:
    Oct 19, 2012 2:51 PM
    FANof28 says: Oct 19, 2012 2:48 PM
    But if Tagliabue reaches the same conclusion with the same evidence as Goodell

    —————————————————-

    He won’t. No logical, impartial person would.”

    Ah so you’ve seen all the evidence the nfl has even though the players and team involved have not, and no other fan of the game has been allowed to see it.

    Oh wait….

  46. pettytom says: Oct 19, 2012 3:31 PM

    For those that don’t know, Tags approved Reggie White’s “Smash for Cash” program back in 96. This program allowed White to pay teammates $500 for big hits during games (hmm this sounds familiar), he allowed it to take place as long as 1- the money came from him or other players, 2- the amounts are not exorbitant, and 3-the payments are not for illegal hits. He even says that this was allowed within the rules of the NFL and the rules haven’t changed regarding this to date. The only difference is now the NFL is in a PR battle to show that they are all about player safety, which is a joke because its only about money or there would be no discussions about a 18 games season. If Tags were to uphold these suspensions he would be the biggest hypocrite ever and this process would be even more if a sham!

  47. jlb10 says: Oct 19, 2012 3:36 PM

    too bad goodell won’t fire himself.
    so fed up with this guy! the commissioner should not be in the news anywhere near this much. it should be about the teams the players and the games

  48. musicman495 says: Oct 19, 2012 4:10 PM

    I have great respect for Tagliabue, but cannot imagine Goodell would ever agree to this arrangement unless he and Goodell have already agreed to the outcome ahead of time.

    On the other hand, perhaps they are thinking that having Tagliabue broker a compromise might enable Goodell to back down – which some of the owners may be begging him to do at this point – with a minimum of damage to the Commissioner’s authority.

    The real action is still in court, where the judge has asked for the evidence, does not work for the league, and will decide whether there is any merit to the case.

  49. bearnmind says: Oct 19, 2012 4:20 PM

    Isnt Tagliabue a partner in the law firm representing Goodell in the defamation lawsuit Vilma filed? While I’m glad Goodell recused himself, I wonder if this is true about Tagliabue, if that doesn’t create a conflict of interest.

  50. mdd913 says: Oct 19, 2012 4:31 PM

    harrisonhits2 says: Oct 19, 2012 3:28 PM

    Ah so you’ve seen all the evidence the nfl has even though the players and team involved have not, and no other fan of the game has been allowed to see it.

    Oh wait….

    ————————————————————–

    I haven’t seen all the supposed “evidence.”

    What I have seen has so many holes in it, it’s hard to imagine that any actual hard proof exists. Conflicting testimonies, ledgers that don’t match up to what actually happened in games, multiple testimonies that have been refuted and the NFL backtracking and sidestepping its original claims don’t exactly inspire me with the idea that they have any proof that would stand up to any real inspection.

    If the NFL had true proof, they would’ve shown their hand by now, instead of being embarrassed and making themselves look completely incompetent over the last six months.

  51. thelastpieceofcheese says: Oct 19, 2012 4:41 PM

    The bounty gang is doomed!

  52. thestewman3 says: Oct 19, 2012 4:43 PM

    I love how all the hate the Goodell get’s, yet I keep asking Saint’s fans: Where is your Owner in all of this? If this is such an blatant miscarriage of justice, why dosen’t Benson say so?

    If I where a Saint’s fan I would be picketing the owner to come to the defense of his franchise, of his players, GM and coaches. To say that this is all about nothing and that Goodell just has it in for his club.

    Or is perhaps that Benson knows the truth which is that their was a pay for cartoffs program in place.

  53. bathroomben7 says: Oct 19, 2012 5:09 PM

    Goodell has done for the NFL what the Rock did for that small town in Walking Tall. He’s cleaned the place up and taken out the garbage in the most direct way possible.

  54. wiley16350 says: Oct 19, 2012 5:24 PM

    I think this is great news (and i don’t think Mr. Goodell recused himself willingly; i think – and could be wrong- that the owners told him to do do). Tags really is a lawyer so he understands evidence as opposed to “well, chilly said he heard it from Kennedy who heard it from Hargrove” etc.
    ___________________________________
    Your last line only shows your ignorance. The line from Hargrove to Kennedy to Childress was investigated to see if Childress’s claim had merit. After interviewing many people they couldn’t verify whether it did or not. It wasn’t until they received other evidences a year later that a more involved investigation was started. In the 2nd investigation they came up with all the evidence because they got permission from Tom Benson to go through the Saints records of all types. This investigation is what led to the suspensions. The evidence you sighted had nothing to do with the suspensions.

  55. jcdavey2011 says: Oct 19, 2012 5:34 PM

    just another reason goodell is smarter than you lot

    long live roger, best nfl commish ever

  56. mdd913 says: Oct 19, 2012 5:52 PM

    thestewman3 says: Oct 19, 2012 4:43 PM

    I love how all the hate the Goodell get’s, yet I keep asking Saint’s fans: Where is your Owner in all of this? If this is such an blatant miscarriage of justice, why dosen’t Benson say so?

    ————————————————————-

    Benson commissioned an internal investigation of his own. I’m sure the results will never be made public knowledge, but there’s no doubt he shared the results of such at the owner’s meeting. Surely it’s no coincidence that Goodell made this move so soon after the owner’s meeting. He was probably asked to do so.

  57. ilovefoolsball says: Oct 19, 2012 5:53 PM

    bathroomben7 says:
    Oct 19, 2012 5:09 PM
    Goodell has done for the NFL what the Rock did for that small town in Walking Tall. He’s cleaned the place up and taken out the garbage in the most direct way possible.
    _____
    People said the same thing about Hitler, he cleaned up the streets, improved the economy, etc.
    He was able to do this by having complete and total power with zero opposition because “the people agreed to let him do it” then it was too late and the people no longer had any power.

    Comparing Hitler to Godell?
    No.

    Absolute power can exist in many different realms of life but the one constant is that it is ALWAYS abused.

  58. bgrab1 says: Oct 19, 2012 6:41 PM

    To my understanding Mr. Goodell your daughter is a huge Minnesota Vikings fan and your wife was a former resident and corespondent for a local Minnesota news program… Being that a majority of the evidence presented about “Bounty Gate” stems from the 2010 NFC Championship game in which the New Orleans Saints defeated the Minnesota Vikings, how big of a factor did your daughter and wife play in your revenge scheme against the Saints, also known as “Bounty Gate”? Hmm?

    Now you recuse yourself and appoint form Commish Tags who also works at the same law firm as the lawyers that are fighting the Vilma lawsuit against you. Pretty Slick stuff there. Low life!

  59. hor2012 says: Oct 19, 2012 6:57 PM

    I can’t believe that they’re still people out there saying that the penalties were fair. There’s absolutely no way that any of this can be justified. Not one person that has posted on this knows the inner workings of what has transpired. Now, I’m a Saints fan and I will admit that my views of the punishments are colored by my love of the team. But, those who somehow are able to say with a straight face that this was a great idea by RG are just saying that because you hate the Saints. The truth is that this is going bad for the league. And, it’s only going to get worse. And, when this is over I promise you they’re going to be a lot of angry fans and it won’t be Saints fans.

  60. j0esixpack says: Oct 19, 2012 7:09 PM

    Goodell has strictly enforced the NFL’s injury reporting policy – without which a Bounty scandal would not be possible.

  61. charger383 says: Oct 19, 2012 8:34 PM

    I don’t trust anybody that Goodell would choose.

  62. mazblast says: Oct 19, 2012 9:12 PM

    Where is your Owner in all of this? If this is such an blatant miscarriage of justice, why dosen’t Benson say so?
    —————————–
    I’m inclined to think that Goodell told Benson to shut up or he’d face the same kind of sanctions, and that Goodell has the backing of enough other owners to make it stick.

  63. gatorfan1 says: Oct 19, 2012 9:23 PM

    I’m not sure why everyone is jumping to the conclusion that what has happened over the last day or two is going to help the players.

    First the video that seems to imply that the NFL condone bounty’s. That film is almost 15-16 years old. If you remember, all these players have steadfastly denied knowing of a bounty system. So are they now saying that they were involved in a bounty system, and the NFL condoned it?

    You can’t have it both ways. All sports over the years have instituted rules for players safety, so Goodell has every right to change the culture of the game.

    I believe it will be very hard to go back in front of the same judge and say they lied about the bounty program and show film from that long ago showing there was a bounty all along. The bottom line is the original filing is based on the fact that they knew nothing of a bounty and didn’t participate in one.

    So now what the judge is left with, is a seemingly guilty admission of a bounty by the players and NOW the ruling will be if the commissioner has the RIGHT to regulate safety. and punish bounty systems.

    Secondly, it is a very strategic move by Goodell to hand this off to Tagliabue. I believe these two incidences will pass muster with the judge and the ruling will be upheld.

  64. dretwann says: Oct 19, 2012 11:16 PM

    Tags was a more even handed commish but something smells here. You resist with every fiber of your being and then, out of the blue you step aside?! If I were the players, my antennae would be up for sure. I think, to avoid the appearance of a sham, this decision should have been a joint choice of the NFL and NFLPA and preferably someone unassociated with the NFL (past and present). I didn’t support the penalties but I think this was a brilliant move by Goodell and the NFL. He stands a better chance of having the suspensions upheld with an insider than someone who won’t necessarily give him an ear. This could be the end of the road, unfortunately, for the players.

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