NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appointed predecessor Paul Tagliabue to hear the appeals of four players suspended in the Saints’ bounty scandal.
Goodell said Friday he notified Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove, as well as the players’ union, that Tagliabue would be the hearing officer to “decide the appeals and bring the matter to a prompt and fair conclusion.”
The union and the four players had asked Goodell to recuse himself, contending he could not fairly rule. Their second set of appeals will be heard Oct. 30.
“Any time we move towards a fair evaluation of the evidence it is a positive development,” said Peter Ginsberg, Vilma’s attorney. “Commissioner Goodell’s belated recognition that he cannot possibly serve as an impartial and unbiased arbitrator is certainly a positive development. And we have enormous respect for Paul Tagliabue.”
Former Vikings defensive end Jimmy Kennedy, who has been identified as a source in the NFL’s bounty case, released a statement saying that the NFL called him to ask about a bounty program, and he told them that he did not know anything about it.
Commissioner “Roger Goodell identifies me as the ‘whistleblower’ who approached former Viking coach Brad Childress about an alleged bounty on Brett Favre in the NFC Championship game,” Kennedy’s statement says. “That is a lie.”
Browns left guard Jason Pinkston has been hospitalized with blood clots in his lungs. … The NFL fined the Redskins $20,000 for the manner in which they announced the concussion suffered by rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III during a game earlier this month against the Falcons. … Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi pleaded no contest to felony battery and paid $42,000 to a Santa Barbara County resident he punched in the face. … Rex Ryan says Jets running back-kick returner Joe McKnight will be a “game-time decision” on whether he plays Sunday in an AFC East showdown with the New England Patriots.