Bounty appeals hearing
The New Orleans Saints bounty story has more lives than a family of cats. The bounty appeals hearing scheduled to be run by Paul Tagliabue on October 30 has been postponed. Although the NFL has not released further details, it is believed that the appeals hearing has been cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Sandy in Washington D.C.
It is impossible to escape the irony that Hurricane Sandy is forecast to hit the northeast when Saints players were scheduled to have their bounty appeals hearing heard there. Maybe it's simply a sign that Tagliabue isn't meant to hear the bounty appeals after all.
As I hoped he would, Jonathan Vilma is fighting Tagliabue's appointment to hear the bounty appeals on the grounds of a clear conflict of interest. Paul Tagliabue works for the law firm defending the NFL in Vilma's defamation lawsuit. A court hearing on Tagliabue's appointment is still scheduled to take place on Monday in New Orleans.
At this point in the season, I now find the bounty story to be a distraction for New Orleans. At 2-4, the Saints need to go on an epic run to get back into playoff contention. And having the Saints beat the odds and win the Super Bowl in New Orleans would truly be the best way to get back at Goodell.
But it's not my reputation that's on the line and if Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita, and Anthony Hargrove truly did not participate in a bounty program in New Orleans, then I support their right to fight Goodell to the end. If the comments from Judge Helen Berrigan are any indication, then the Saints players have a great case in a fair appeals hearing.
Given his injury, lack of access to the Saints' medical staff, and season-long suspension, it is a miracle that Vilma is now playing for New Orleans. Jonathan Vilma is one of the smartest and most popular Saints' defenders and his presence in the locker room, on the sidelines, and on the field is clearly an inspiration to his teammates and fans.
There is no word from the NFL on when the Saints' bounty appeals hearing will take place. Hopefully, when the appeals hearing commences, Paul Tagliabue will be sitting behind a desk in his law office far away from the proceedings.
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
More from this contributorGame summary of Super Bowl 48