Former commissioner to hear bounty appeals

Oct. 19, 2012 at 9:29 PM
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NEW YORK, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- The National Football League announced Friday former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue would hear an appeal from four players in the New Orleans bounty case.

Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita have all been suspended for various lengths of time after the NFL alleged they intentionally attempted to injure opposing players in exchange for cash payments.

After those four players won a previous appeal, current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell agreed to a slight reduction to the suspensions of Hargrove and Fujita. Vilma's season-long suspension, however, was unchanged and Smith's suspension remained at four games.

Another appeal was filed and this time Goodell said he would have his predecessor conduct a hearing in the matter and make a ruling.

Union chief DeMaurice Smith said he had been informed by Goodell that Tagliabue would take over the matter.

A hearing will be held on Oct. 30 at a site yet to be determined.

In the NFL announcement, Goodell said he would have "no role" in any future decision in the bounty matter.

"Paul Tagliabue is a genuine football authority whose tenure as commissioner was marked by his thorough and judicious approach to all matters," Goodell said in the NFL release. "He has many years of experience in NFL collective bargaining matters and an impeccable reputation for integrity."

Tagliabue was commissioner for 17 years and retired from that post in 2006.

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