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On bounty ruling, Goodell thinks “conduct detrimental” should result in discipline

Goodell AP

At the conclusion of a quarterly ownership meeting in Dallas, Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed with the media a variety of topics.  The biggest, obviously, came from Tuesday’s ruling by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in the bounty case.

As to the facts, Goodell says that he and Tagliabue came to the same conclusion.  But that’s not entirely accurate.  Tagliabue found only that there was enough evidence to support Goodell’s factual determinations; the former Commissioner didn’t make his own decisions as to the facts.

And as to the fairly important factual questions associated the $10,000 bounty offer made by Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Tagliabue concluded there is no evidence that tough talk became action.

“We came to the same conclusion as far as the facts were concerned,” Goodell nevertheless said.  “Clearly, there was a bounty program in place for three years, despite the denials.  Clearly this is something that is considered conduct detrimental.  Where I think Commissioner Tagliabue and I disagree is on the fact of discipline.  I think when there’s conduct detrimental, there should be associated discipline with that.  And that’s where we disagree.  But I respect his decision and we’re moving on.”

Goodell is moving on without any inclination to change his approach to player discipline, politely dismissing Tagliabue’s ruling as “non-precedential,” which means that Goodell doesn’t believe he is bound by the ruling in future cases.  Tagliabue likely would disagree, based on the portion of his ruling in which he explains that his decision is guided by the “rules of the shop.”  Tagliabue would say that his decision necessarily has become subsumed within those rules.

Still, in future cases of this nature (if/when there are any), Goodell made it clear that he will hold responsible not only coaches and management but also players.

“My personal view is I hold everyone responsible,” Goodell said.  “We have to have a personal responsibility here.  And player health and safety is an important issue in this league, and it’s gonna take everyone.  We’re all gonna have to contribute to that, whether you’re a Commissioner, whether you’re a coach, whether you’re a player.  And we all have to be held accountable for it.  So I fundamentally disagree that this is something that lies just with coaches and management.  I think that as you I know I took some very significant steps with respect to management and coaches.  I do think that that’s important, and I do think their leadership position needs to be considered.  But I also believe these players were in leadership positions also.”

Bottom line?  The man in the ultimate NFL leadership position plans to change nothing about the way he leads, despite the outcome of the bounty case and the subtle rebuke he received from his predecessor regarding the way that a Commissioner should tackle difficult issues that have lingered for years before suddenly becoming problems.

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37 Responses to “On bounty ruling, Goodell thinks “conduct detrimental” should result in discipline”
  1. kattykathy says: Dec 12, 2012 7:01 PM

    Goodell has not learned his lesson yet.
    When the other Saints players file suit also(within a week) then there will be 4 very strong cases attacking this arrogant control freak.

    Once Judge Berrigan drops the hammer down, and Vilma and the others win their cases……I would hope he then learns his lesson.

  2. usmutts says: Dec 12, 2012 7:02 PM

    I’m glad he said this. It’s further evidence Vilma’s lawyer can use in the defamation case against Goodell that he has never intended to be fair to Vilma and never will be. That’s on the doorstep of malice.

  3. bearnmind says: Dec 12, 2012 7:04 PM

    Roger being Roger is not a good thing for the league. The man will never learn, hopefully the owners will…and move on to a more responsible commissioner.

  4. thesmedman says: Dec 12, 2012 7:05 PM

    Does this include the league office, when they do “conduct detrimental”?

  5. mrbigass says: Dec 12, 2012 7:06 PM

    So why didn’t Sean Payton jump in with the rest of them and try to get his suspension overturned?

    Oh wait……….

  6. ilovefoolsball says: Dec 12, 2012 7:11 PM

    Roger Goodell doesn’t make mistakes, the world just changes it’s destiny sometimes without asking him.

  7. eyeh8goodell says: Dec 12, 2012 7:17 PM

    We’ll see what the judge thinks, Roger. Get ready to whip out that checkbook…..because it’s gonna be check writing time for you very soon.

  8. musicman495 says: Dec 12, 2012 7:31 PM

    mrbigass says: Dec 12, 2012 7:06 PM

    So why didn’t Sean Payton jump in with the rest of them and try to get his suspension overturned?

    Oh wait……….
    ——————-
    You really can’t figure out why a guy whose job depends on the owners will not challenge the owner’s commissioner? Think hard and try again. We’ll wait.

  9. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Dec 12, 2012 7:36 PM

    Paul Tagliabue’s “Final Decision On Appeal” at page 3 states, in pertinent part, “To be clear: this case should not be considered a precedent for whether similar behavior in the future merits player suspensions or fines; rather, I have decided not to issue fines this time for the reasons stated in this decision and the sake of the best interests of all involved in professional football.” I construe that to mean Roger Goodell is not bound by Tagliabue’s ruling in future, at least on the question of what type of future discipline might be appropriate.

  10. NoHomeTeam says: Dec 12, 2012 7:41 PM

    I really can’t believe all the Goodell hate here.
    A Commissioner with power and the will to use it is a good thing.

    Are you all really nostalgic for the Tagliabu regime? Short memories, people. Players running rampant on and off the field without the threat of real discipline, unfettered expansion of salaries, franchise flight?

    If you think Goodell is “ruining” the League, I respectfully suggest that “your” team or favorite player has experienced some negative effects due to his policies. Are the Saints worse off for the bounty scandal? Of course they are. Is the League worse off? Is the game itself worse off?

    You know the answer to that, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself.

  11. chauncey33 says: Dec 12, 2012 7:45 PM

    Sean Payton did ask for his suspension to be overturned. You know you can just do a search for “Sean payton appeal suspension” and be informed.

  12. sportsfan240 says: Dec 12, 2012 7:45 PM

    This guy needs to go. Goodell is a joke. He is trying to ruin this game.

  13. andylucksneck says: Dec 12, 2012 7:53 PM

    Goodell’s opinions cloud his judgement. Roger is unable to look back at previous rulings and use this as a template to rule on present infractions. The example I would point to other than this bounty situation would be the collusion case that Mara spear headed, and fined both Jerry, and Danny. I really hope these two cases take RG down. I truly hope and pray that he is looking for a job and earning less than a dollar a year.

  14. blacknole08 says: Dec 12, 2012 8:10 PM

    Even though the bounties were vacated by a commish who never held his employers responsible, I think this commissioner made the right decision on imposing the suspensions. Players nowadays act like it is a privelege to play in this league.

    I respect Goodell and he is good for the NFL. And for those who still have bad things to say about him, realize that this sport has millions of fans, so its not like the league has suffered with him in charge.

  15. ttommytom says: Dec 12, 2012 8:11 PM

    He’s a baby. He didn’t like being lied to and tried to screw everyone involved.

    Get over it, dude. You make 12 millon dollars a year.

    I was a cop and got paid WAY less to be lied to by every single person I encountered during the day outside of my partner. You don’t take it personal, you learn to play the game, which by making the statement above he has decided to do it his way, anyway.

    Grow up…

  16. briggsweatbird says: Dec 12, 2012 8:26 PM

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    I think the power of his office has made Roger drunk, and unable to think rationally.

    Good to have a voice of reason step in, as the former commissioner did.

  17. gtodriver says: Dec 12, 2012 8:33 PM

    kattykathy says:

    Goodell has not learned his lesson yet.
    When the other Saints players file suit also(within a week) then there will be 4 very strong cases attacking this arrogant control freak.

    Once Judge Berrigan drops the hammer down, and Vilma and the others win their cases……I would hope he then learns his lesson.
    _______________________________

    How is Vilma – or any of the other Saints players going to win a case?

    Tagliabue confirmed that there was an organized bounty program in place – despite the denials of all these fine upstanding players, who testified that there was no bounty program.

    If these players were smart, they’d just hope this goes away. If they pursue it – they’ll probably be convicted of perjury.

    Which would serve them right…

  18. jimmyj049 says: Dec 12, 2012 8:35 PM

    Maybe I am crazy… the former commissioner did not say the players were inocent he just didn’t want to suspend them since it started by the coaches and GM. Why does everyone hate on Goodell for wanting to punish the coaches and players for participating?

  19. tjigger says: Dec 12, 2012 8:52 PM

    Gtodriver

    Players already testified as well as some coaches..
    But neither of the NFL witness’s did

  20. jaltreality says: Dec 12, 2012 8:55 PM

    gtodriver says:
    Dec 12, 2012 8:33 PM

    Tagliabue confirmed that there was an organized bounty program in place – despite the denials of all these fine upstanding players, who testified that there was no bounty program.

    _______________________________

    Tagliabue’s lawfirm is defending Goodell in the defamation suit. I doubt he was going to make any statements that injures a client’s defense. His statements aren’t a good way of gauging the strength of the defamation suit.

  21. chauncey33 says: Dec 12, 2012 9:04 PM

    Jimmyjo says …the former commissioner did not say the players were inocent he just didn’t want to suspend them since it started by the coaches and GM….
    ______________________________

    Jimmyjo, what was Tags supposed to say? “We screwed this up across the board?” “We shouldn’t have punished anyone?” He can’t say that. If he did, how would he undo what was done to the coaches?

    It’s much easier for the NFL if Tags said what he did: That Goodell got some of it wrong (as it relates to the players) and some of it right( as it relates to the coaches). The real question is do people actually believe that?

    That Roger Goodell somehow managed to get the player discipline all wrong, but got the coaches punishments all right? I don’t.

    I think he got it wrong across the board, but like Drew Brees said, Tagliabue was stuck between a rock and a hard place. He knew the investigation and evidence was faulty, but his other loyalties to the NFL prevents him from being completely forthcoming. This was his compromise.

    Put it on the coaches. They’re already serving out a punishment. It’s convenient and it keeps the NFL from looking like the total and complete liars they are.

  22. 6thsense79 says: Dec 12, 2012 9:04 PM

    gtodriver says: Dec 12, 2012 8:33 PM

    kattykathy says:

    Goodell has not learned his lesson yet. When the other Saints players file suit also(within a week) then there will be 4 very strong cases attacking this arrogant control freak.

    Once Judge Berrigan drops the hammer down, and Vilma and the others win their cases……I would hope he then learns his lesson. _______________________________

    How is Vilma – or any of the other Saints players going to win a case?

    Tagliabue confirmed that there was an organized bounty program in place –despite the denials of all these fine upstanding players, who testified that there was no bounty program.

    If these players were smart, they’d just hope this goes away. If they pursue it – they’ll probably be convicted of perjury.

    Which would serve them right…

    ————

    And if the players had listen to people like you to take their punishments like a “man” at the start of this they would have missed multiple games and been out 100s of thousands if not millions. Luckily they dis what real men do when they felt they were done wrong and fought. Now they have the league scared to release the transcript of the Tags hearing. Every time anyone other than Goodell has ruled in this case the league ends up losing. Yet you seem to think they will lose in court. Well the players have done very well not listening to people like you and I think they should never pay attention to what folks like you say. Goodell wanted to fight when he thought he could be the bully well now the bully is getting punched in the mouth and I hope the players don’t stop till he cries uncle.

  23. 6thsense79 says: Dec 12, 2012 9:04 PM

    Players going to win a case?

    Tagliabue confirmed that there was an organized bounty program in place –despite the denials of all these fine upstanding players, who testified that there was no bounty program.

    If these players were smart, they’d just hope this goes away. If they pursue it – they’ll probably be convicted of perjury.

    Which would serve them right…

    ————

    And if the players had listen to people like you to take their punishments like a “man” at the start of this they would have missed multiple games and been out 100s of thousands if not millions. Luckily they dis what real men do when they felt they were done wrong and fought. Now they have the league scared to release the transcript of the Tags hearing. Every time anyone other than Goodell has ruled in this case the league ends up losing. Yet you seem to think they will lose in court. Well the players have done very well not listening to people like you and I think they should never pay attention to what folks like you say. Goodell wanted to fight when he thought he could be the bully well now the bully is getting punched in the mouth and I hope the players don’t stop till he cries uncle.

  24. bigbabies says: Dec 12, 2012 9:14 PM

    I hope this story continues through to next season because its not played out yet………interesting

  25. tdshouldbeinthehall says: Dec 12, 2012 9:37 PM

    For all the not so smart people out there that think Goodell is ruining football, maybe you should look at the fact that there are 2000 former players suing the league because the league didn’t protect them from themselves. Goodell has no choice but to try and make the game safer or at least make it look like he is. He doesn’t care about player safety anymore than you or I. He is doing what the former players are making him do because of their lawsuit, so point your finger at the former players if your looking to lay blame. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO ARE RUINING THE GAME WE LOVE.

  26. whatchutalkinabouthillis says: Dec 12, 2012 9:41 PM

    Roger, you talk too much.

  27. daknight93 says: Dec 12, 2012 9:56 PM

    is this guy ever gonna grow up….a decision was made and his suspensions were overturned let it go and move on!

  28. Little Earthquake says: Dec 12, 2012 10:05 PM

    Hiring replacement refs = conduct detrimental to the league.

  29. silentcount says: Dec 12, 2012 10:07 PM

    How do you punish a player or coach without punishing everyone else who had nothing to do with the infraction? You do what Tagliabue said and make the guilty pay big fines. Case in point, when Bellichek was caught cheating, he paid a fine and wasn’t suspended for a year. Why? Because the Patriots wouldn’t have a fair chance to be competitive without their coach. And the same thing would apply to Sean Payton. When Goodell suspended him, Vitt and Loomis, he punished thousands of people who were totally innocent. That’s why what he did was wrong.

  30. montanapredator says: Dec 12, 2012 10:33 PM

    This a joke. We all know there was a bounty program. The issue now is was it the responsibility of coaches or players. Who hit Farve and was flagged for roughing the passer ona handoff in the NFC champ game in 2010? Why do the Aints coaches say there was a bounty program? Vilma is washed up and has no reputation to to denigrate. Let the lawyers reign and Vilma’s forgettable career will be over before his BS case is decided.

  31. mjkelly77 says: Dec 12, 2012 10:45 PM

    When I last checked, Roger Goddell was still the Commissioner of the NFL and Pual Tagliabue was just a hired hand for one specific instance.

  32. mjkelly77 says: Dec 12, 2012 10:52 PM

    sportsfan240 says:Dec 12, 2012 7:45 PM

    This guy needs to go. Goodell is a joke. He is trying to ruin this game.
    ____________________

    There are 32 team owners whose opinion would be diametrically opposed to yours. And it’s THEIR opinion that counts.

  33. skolvikesskol says: Dec 12, 2012 11:15 PM

    If everyone is held responsible, the entire team should’ve been suspended. SMH. Tags was right. Penalize the coaches, kill bounty systems, then put in a clearly thought out and communicated punishment for ANYONE involved in future bounty systems…. So easy…. sigh.

  34. ncfloyd says: Dec 13, 2012 12:01 AM

    So Tags suggested Goodell should have done what Rozelle did, wait a year before any discipline. I believe he did, he told all the teams to shut down any and all bounties back in 2009. Then he disciplined the Saints when the did not.
    Tags provided no leadership during his time. The league needs someone with the nuts to suspend guys who embarrass the league. The nfl wil go on without Vick and Roethlisberger. Tags let ray Lewis, an accomplice to murder continue playing.

  35. bluebongzilla says: Dec 13, 2012 1:15 AM

    Paul Tagliabue was the worst NFL commissioner ever.

  36. txnative61 says: Dec 13, 2012 2:31 AM

    Players from around the league have mentioned various incentives for hard hits that bordered on “bounties” for injuries, but were limited to more informal locker room talk. The accusation was that the coaches established a more formal system that included payments for injury specifically. Players were suspended for contributing to a “pool”, that they say was never formally in place among the players, and never exceeded the informal incentives on many teams. Now it is clear around the league that ALL incentives will be harshly punished, so yeah, Roger—this didn’t set a precedent for future amnesty, duh.

  37. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Dec 13, 2012 1:01 PM

    “… difficult issues that have lingered for years before suddenly becoming problems.”

    BINGO – very well stated.

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