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Fujita, Tagliabue have common ground, on at least one issue

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With a new arbitrator appointed to handle the bounty appeal hearings, the first order of business will be to try to figure out whether former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will be inclined to reach any different decision than current Commissioner Roger Goodell would have.

Until more is known about the manner in which Tagliabue plans to conduct the appeal hearing on October 30, there will be concerns — as articulated by Jonathan Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg.

There are stray indications floating around the Internet that may, or may not, have relevance to the outcome.  As Peter King noted on Twitter after Goodell gave the baton to Tagliabue, “He’s no rubber stamp.  He’s not stayed close to Goodell.  His ruling will be his and his alone.”

King made another great point regarding Tagliabue.  He had an important role in preventing the Saints from fleeing New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  Many forget that rumors of relocation were rampant before the storm ravaged the region.  In the aftermath, Tagliabue made sure that the Saints would stay put — and the long-downtrodden team thereafter became a key component of the rebuilding process and one of the city’s most cherished assets.

On the other hand, Tagliabue continues to be affiliated with the law firm that is representing the NFL in bounty-related legal matters, and he’s still receiving millions from the league office in deferred compensation and retirement benefits.

Here’s another factor that points to the possibility of Tagliabue having an open mind.  The one-percenter with a clear establishment pedigree is a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, having recently given $100,000 to the effort in Maryland.  “I think this is the time to view this not as an expense, but as a capital investment in our nation’s infrastructure,” Tagliabue said.

Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, whose one-game suspension will be resolved by Tagliabue, applauds Tagliabue’s commitment.  “When I read this a few weeks ago, I was quite impressed,” Fujita told PFT by email Sunday morning.  “More and more players are opening up about their acceptance of others’ sexuality (I prefer “acceptance” over “tolerance”, which to me sounds less than equal), but when respected figures in sports leadership positions show such staunch support, it really opens a lot of eyes.”

Of course, none of this means that Fujita or the other players will tolerate or accept Tagliabue as the replacement arbitrator.  The full assessment of Tagalibue’s actual and perceived fitness to provide a fair ruling will be made in the coming days, and it’s possible that the players who have been suspended will object to the assignment Goodell has made.

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11 Responses to “Fujita, Tagliabue have common ground, on at least one issue”
  1. bgrab1 says: Oct 21, 2012 9:38 AM

    Dont be fooled. There is no way Tagliabue overturns the ruling of the guy he mentored to replace him as commissioner . Especially since Tags also presently works in the law firm of the Lawyers that are representing Roger Goodell in the defamation case. Of all the people that Goodell could have selected to be impartial he picked the absolute worse choice possible. No surprise.

  2. calv23 says: Oct 21, 2012 9:45 AM

    While Tags looks like the picture of integrity when compared to Goodell, I can’t see that any other factor matters as much as Tags’ employment with the law firm that’s handling Vilma’s defamation suit.

    Combined with the millions Tags is still getting from the league, and Tags’ desire to not make a fellow commissioner & the NFL look bad—I don’t care if Fujita and Tagliabue are long lost ideological soulmates. Nothing matters as much as those factors.

  3. evilbilly3 says: Oct 21, 2012 9:50 AM

    It would be good if the Saints get a fair appeal. If they don’t this is going back to court and carry on. The league needs to stop hiding behind the CBA and provide the witnesses for the defense. I know it’s not a court of law, but that’s exactly where this thing is heading if they don’t. Punish the players for what they can prove, and stop saying they are guilty of anything else that they can’t. This thing needs to be over, it is WAY past due.

  4. evilbilly3 says: Oct 21, 2012 9:55 AM

    “Especially since Tags also presently works in the law firm of the Lawyers that are representing Roger Goodell in the defamation case.”

    And Goodell tells the media that he has not went over any of this with Tags. These are not the droids you are looking for.

  5. jr4real says: Oct 21, 2012 10:17 AM

    I certainly think Tag will decide fairly. He was never the stooge Goodell is.

    Will the players accept an unfavorable ruling? Not a chance. They are unwilling do accept their guilt.

  6. gweetarman says: Oct 21, 2012 11:07 AM

    Romney equals no gay marriage. Vote romney.

  7. udjets says: Oct 21, 2012 11:20 AM

    @evilbilly3

    So, I assume by fair, you mean completely exonerated? No bias there right? Give me a break. As for the guilt, they don’t want to accept it because they don’t want to admit to it, most people caught red handed do the same thing. I’d reserve trusting these guys, the union or the NFL until the entire thing is over as they all have their own agendas and none of them revolve around some lowly fan. It’s obvious that he only ruling you and other obvious diehard Saints fans would accept is that of the innocence of these players, even if they had insurmountable evidence against them, which taints your opinion and makes it less than irrelevant.

  8. billsfan1 says: Oct 21, 2012 11:21 AM

    i thought this article was going to say that they both knew deep in their hearts the Fujita sucked….. cause most fans already know

  9. eezyxyz says: Oct 21, 2012 11:31 AM

    “Here’s another factor that points to the possibility of Tagliabue having an open mind.”

    You know that Tagliabue’s son is gay, right? “Open mind” could be nothing more complicated than bias in favor of protecting his own family.

  10. letmesetyoustraight says: Oct 21, 2012 11:54 AM

    Let’s not be too quick to annoint Tagliabue as the savior of the Saints franchise. This is from a person with knowledge of what actually went down in the weeks after Katrina:

    Tags may be a good guy. But there’s a major misconception about Tags. I know what I say as fact. I was an exec at one of Fortune 50 companies in San Antonio, on the project team to move the Saints to San Antonio. It was an astonishing set of events. Each of the CEOs was committing to # of seats guaranteed and corporate sponsorships. In 2.5 weeks, they had the deal done, 80% of the owners and Tags finally caved to do the deal. At the 11th hour, Benson went nuts with new demands for a new stadium and these CEOs, who were as wealthy as Tom and much much more powerful than Benson, made the decision Tom was a wildcard and they killed the entire deal in in one evening. For point of interest, one of these CEOs was Whitaker, at the time ATT, and who took charge and turned around GM largely at the request of the President of the US. And Whitaker was not the most powerful of the San Antonio CEO group trying to take the Saints to SA.”

  11. sparky151 says: Oct 21, 2012 1:07 PM

    Tagliabue is a creature of the NFL and not independent at all. The union will probably wait for his ruling before making an issue of it.

    You’re really reaching by saying gay marriage has anything to do with this. Obviously you support it and want to get a plug in for it but it doesn’t affect this case one way or the other.

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