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Reports: Hurricane affects Saints hearing

Oct. 27, 2012 at 5:27 PM

NEW YORK, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- The approach of Hurricane Sandy has forced the postponement of a key NFL hearing in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, multiple reports indicated Saturday.

The hearing with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue on the appeals of current and former Saints players Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita is scheduled for Tuesday in New York.

But forecasts for heavy rains and high winds as Hurricane Sandy worked its way up the Eastern Seaboard during the weekend set the hearing back, a league source told ESPN.

Pro Football Talk also reported the hurricane threat may have played a role in the decision.

The four players last week filed a court motion asking that Tagliabue -- who was NFL commissioner from 1989-2006 -- recuse himself from hearing the case because of a "conflict of interest" and that he be replaced by a neutral arbitrator.

Vilma received the stiffest penalty -- a one-year ban -- for allegedly participating in a pay-to injure program within the team. He is being permitted to play while his appeal is heard.

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