Though the outcome may be the same, it’s now obvious that former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will employ a much different method that current Commissioner Roger Goodell when it comes to the bounty case.
Goodell convened in June a one-day appeal hearing that entailed a summary of evidence with no witnesses called and limited documents produced. Tagliabue, who was appointed to handle the appeal after Goodell stepped aside in the face of a claim from the affected players that Goodell can’t be impartial, has conducted at least three days of hearings. Most recently, Tagliabue convened a session in New Orleans that featured three witnesses testifying over roughly 10 hours, according to the Associated Press.
Former Vikings coach Brad Childress, Saints interim coach Joe Vitt, and Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma testified on Monday. The witnesses, the lawyers, and the parties remain mum on the substance of the testimony.
Though the AP item mentions that former Vikings defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy, whom the league contends told Childress about the alleged January 2010 bounty on former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, is on the league’s list of witnesses, Kennedy has told PFT that he will not be testifying, and that neither his agent nor his lawyer have been contacted regarding the possibility.
Per the Associated Press, Tagliabue hopes to rule early next week. If any of the suspensions are upheld, the players undoubtedly will attempt to block the suspensions in court, seeking both a temporary delay pending the outcome of the litigation and a permanent reversal of the bans.
Saints defensive end Will Smith has been suspended four games, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita has been suspended one game, free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargove has been suspended two games after he signs with a new team, and Vilma has been suspended for the remainder of the 2012 season.