The Bounty Gate scandal isn’t even close to coming to a close. If anything, things just got a whole lot more interesting on Friday. (In case you live under a rock, bounty gate was an alleged pay-to-injure program that was being run by the New Orleans Saints.)
For months the players that were allegedly involved in the scandal have been calling for an appeal. Vilma has been suspended for the entire season, Smith was banned for four games and Fujita is banned for a single. Hargrove, a free agent, is suspended for seven games. The players have been lobbying for Goodell to step down as the as the exclusive authority on the case. The players believe that Goodell has demonstrated bias in the investigation. The NFL reissued the initial suspensions last week after an arbitration panel asked Goodell to review his initial decisions.
The revised suspensions were met with appeals.
To satisfy the unhappiness of the players Goodell recused himself from any further rulings on the case. And then he appointed former commissioner Paul Tagliabue as new authority on bounty gate. Most likely this is not what the players were looking for. In my opinion, Goodell really is an evil beast. First, he hides evidence on the case and then he defames the characters of each implicated player. Then, when faced with defiance, he appoints his former boss and good friend to take over the case. Oh, and he also works for the law firm that is defending the league in the bounty gate case.
That isn’t a conflict of interest?! He’s just an expert on the NFL! Why on earth would he not rule in a neutral capacity?
The appointment of Paul Tagliabue is apparently a compromise. However, the relationship he has with Goodell and his position in the law firm needs to be considered. Even if Tagliabue has no reason to be anything but objective he is too close to the scandal and the league to be the new authority on bounty gate.
Watch for the players union to challenge his appointment, and not win; the league will only make so many compromises.