When I heard that Roger Goodell had recused himself from the New Orleans Saints players' bounty appeals, I was overjoyed for about a split second. When I heard that Goodell had appointed Paul Tagliabue to hear the Saints' appeals, my joy decreased significantly.
Paul Tagliabue was an outstanding NFL commissioner. In my lifetime, I have never seen ownership and labor living in harmony in any sport like they did during Tagliabue's tenure. And while he was commissioner, the NFL became the unquestioned leader among the North American pro sports leagues.
On a personal note, I will be forever grateful to Paul Tagliabue for ensuring that the Saints did not leave New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Even Saints' owner Tom Benson made overtures to San Antonio, but Tagliabue brought the team back to New Orleans as his final great act as commissioner.
The reason I'm not happy that Roger Goodell appointed Paul Tagliabue to hear the Saints' bounty appeals is because Tagliabue works for the law firm that represents the NFL. This certainly looks like a conflict of interest to me. And why doesn't the NFLPA get a say in who the "impartial" arbitrator is?
I see two viable scenarios on how the bounty appeal hearings will go on October 30.
Roger Goodell's olive branch to New Orleans came from a bowl of wax fruit and vegetables and it is simply a thinly veiled ploy to appease federal court Judge Helen Berrigan. The judge in Jonathan Vilma's defamation case against Goodell has had strong words for the NFL. But if Tagliabue upholds Goodell's suspensions, it makes the NFL's case look a lot stronger.
Roger Goodell has taken a beating in his handling of the alleged New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, but his ego will not allow him to admit he was wrong. Goodell's evidence against the Saints continues to crumble and he needs a way out. Tagliabue could throw out the Saints' suspensions, bring back Sean Payton, and Goodell would not have to be the one to do it.
I believe the first scenario is almost certain to take place, but I continue to hold out hope for vindication.
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
- American Football
- Sports & Recreation
- Roger Goodell
- Paul Tagliabue
- New Orleans