NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced today that he’s appointed former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue as the hearing officer for the four players involved in the Saints bounty case.
“Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFLPA, Commissioner Goodell has the exclusive authority to hear appeals of discipline for conduct detrimental or appoint a designee to hear and decide an appeal. Commissioner Goodell consulted with NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith in several conversations before deciding to appoint another hearing officer for this case,” per NFL.com
“I have held two hearings to date,” Goodell said, “and have modified the discipline in several respects based on my recent meetings with the players. To bring this matter to a prompt and fair conclusion, I have appointed former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to serve as the hearing officer for the upcoming appeals. Paul Tagliabue is a genuine football authority whose tenure as commissioner was marked by his thorough and judicious approach to all matters. He has many years of experience in NFL collective bargaining matters and an impeccable reputation for integrity.
“To be clear, I have not consulted with Paul Tagliabue at any point about the Saints matter nor has he been any part of the process. Furthermore, under our process the hearing officer has full authority and complete independence to decide the appeal and determine any procedural issues regarding the hearings. I will have no role in the upcoming hearings or in Mr. Tagliabue’s decisions.”
Although Tagliabue has NFL ties, this is better than having Goodell handling the players appeals, since he’s the person who handed down the punishments in the first place.