Roger Goodell announced today that he is stepping aside from the New Orleans Saints bounty and has appointed former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to serve as the hearing officer for the coming appeals.
Tagliabue was the NFL’s commissioner from 1989-2006 and has many years of experience in NFL collective bargaining matters.
“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.” Goodell said in a statement.
Goodwell had held two hearings, and said that by bringing Tagliabue in he thinks the matter can be brought to a fair conclusion.
This comes just a week after Saints QB Drew Brees came out and said that he sided with former teammate Scott Fujita and agreed that Goodell was mis-using his power.
The hearing involving Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Fujita will be October 30. Tagliabue will issue a decision as soon as possible after the hearings.