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Tagliabue vacates all player discipline in Bountygate


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#1 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:31 PM

Per Greg Aiello.

From the Twitter account of NFL spokesman Greg Aiello comes the league’s statement regarding the outcome of the bounty appeal hearing.
The players have won. We think.

“Tagliabue affirms factual findings of Commissioner Goodell concludes Hargrove, Smith, Vilma “engaged in conduct detrimental” and vacates all player discipline,” Aiello says, using “and” where perhaps “but” would have been the better choice.

Regardless, the suspensions imposed on Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove have been overturned.



#2 SouthernBoSox


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:32 PM

Wow. What an epic shit show this was.

Edited by SouthernBoSox, 11 December 2012 - 01:32 PM.


#3 lostjumper

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:53 PM

So Tagliabue affirms that the players participated in bounties, but should not be penalized...ok

Meanwhile, the coaches have admitted to running the bounty pool and all got suspended. Apparently the coaches need a union so they can do illegal stuff but not be punished for it.

#4 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 01:55 PM

So Tagliabue affirms that the players participated in bounties, but should not be penalized...ok

Meanwhile, the coaches have admitted to running the bounty pool and all got suspended. Apparently the coaches need a union so they can do illegal stuff but not be punished for it.


No. He concluded that fines would have been appropriate for the players but not suspensions.

IE Goodell completely overreacted in his usual power-hungry way.

#5 SouthernBoSox


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:05 PM

No. He concluded that fines would have been appropriate for the players but not suspensions.

IE Goodell completely overreacted in his usual power-hungry way.

Well yea. But thats not what Tagliabue concluded at all. In fact, he said the punishment was appropriate, but that the Saints had contaminated the entire thing.

Its all a monster cop out on what was a complete fumble by Goodell.

#6 SMU_Sox


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:06 PM

The coaches can't unionize. I'm 60% sure you were just kidding there.

#7 lostjumper

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:06 PM

No. He concluded that fines would have been appropriate for the players but not suspensions.

IE Goodell completely overreacted in his usual power-hungry way.


My bad. I didn't realize there were fines for the players. I thought the game suspensions acted as fines since they are unpaid suspensions. Is it just the remaining game suspensions that are lifted, or were all suspension abdicated and the players receive game checks for the games they were suspended for? I didn't think they received additional fines beyond the game suspensions.

#8 lostjumper

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:07 PM

The coaches can't unionize. I'm 60% sure you were just kidding there.


I was 100% joking. Sorry, should have put a smiley after it or something.

#9 Smiling Joe Hesketh


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:07 PM

Well yea. But thats not what Tagliabue concluded at all. In fact, he said the punishment was appropriate, but that the Saints had contaminated the entire thing.

Its all a monster cop out on what was a complete fumble by Goodell.


“Unlike Saints’ broad organizational misconduct, player appeals involve sharply focused issues of alleged individual player misconduct in several different aspects. My affirmation of Commissioner Goodell’s findings could certainly justify the issuance of fines. However, this entire case has been contaminated by the coaches and others in the Saints’ organization.”


He's saying that suspending the players for what appeared to be an organizational philosophy or strategy was a complete overreach.

#10 SMU_Sox


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:13 PM

I was 100% joking. Sorry, should have put a smiley after it or something.


I thought you were but sometimes it's hard to separate the funny from the fucking dumb. ;)

#11 Vertebreaker

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:16 PM

Can the NFL impeach Goodell? If anyone deserves it, it's him. The last two years have been a fucking disaster for him.

#12 Ed Hillel


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:22 PM

Where was Tagliabue for Spygate?

This whole thing is strange to me. Findings seemingly the same, punishment worlds apart.

#13 Average Reds


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:23 PM

Edit: Took too long to post and my point was rendered moot.

Edited by Average Reds, 11 December 2012 - 02:25 PM.


#14 Oppo

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:24 PM

Can the NFL impeach Goodell? If anyone deserves it, it's him. The last two years have been a fucking disaster for him.


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#15 Ed Hillel


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:26 PM

He's saying that suspending the players for what appeared to be an organizational philosophy or strategy was a complete overreach.


Yeah, but these are adults. I'm having a hard time seeing how player suspensions should essentially be taken off the table. Oh well, I don't care, really.

What will be interesting is to see what reparations the suspended players receive.

#16 dcdrew10

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:26 PM

I am sure that Goodell and Tags agreed to this language/punishment before Tags began his "hearings." The real shame is now is this won't go through the courts; I'd love to see the courts throw the whole NFL discipline system out the window. I always felt that Williams was pressured to testify against the players and caved, willing to say whatever the NFL wanted in exchange for reinstatement. There is no way the NFL should be allowed to impose indefinite, open ended suspensions.

#17 dcmissle


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:27 PM

Can the NFL impeach Goodell? If anyone deserves it, it's him. The last two years have been a fucking disaster for him.


Owners can fire him any time they please. He works for them.

Very shrewd decision by Tags, who still has it goin' on. Even if the suspensions had been reduced, the players would not have abided that. They would have pressed court action, which would have dragged this out further.

This puts it to an end. And Goodell can say that this was a meaningful appeal, not a sham.

#18 SouthernBoSox


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

He's saying that suspending the players for what appeared to be an organizational philosophy or strategy was a complete overreach.

No, he's not. He's saying that he can confirm the players did something wrong, but cannot decide what the punishment should be because the Saints have "contaminated" the entire process. He's basically completely avoiding the fuck up that was Goodell by blaming the Saints organization.

#19 Lose Remerswaal


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:00 PM

Can the NFL impeach Goodell? If anyone deserves it, it's him. The last two years have been a fucking disaster for him.

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Every hockey fan in the world laughs at both of you.

As do all the NFL and NBA owners and their Television partners.

#20 Shelterdog


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:06 PM

I am sure that Goodell and Tags agreed to this language/punishment before Tags began his "hearings." The real shame is now is this won't go through the courts; I'd love to see the courts throw the whole NFL discipline system out the window. I always felt that Williams was pressured to testify against the players and caved, willing to say whatever the NFL wanted in exchange for reinstatement. There is no way the NFL should be allowed to impose indefinite, open ended suspensions.


Why not? It's a private organization--do you think as Americans we should have due process for workplace-related discipline or is it something else?

#21 dcdrew10

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:34 PM

Why not? It's a private organization--do you think as Americans we should have due process for workplace-related discipline or is it something else?


Why shouldn't the NFL be able to impose indefinite/open ended suspensions? Due process is part of it. Common sense/decency is another part of it. A work place can suspend you indefinitely while they investigate, but after they make a ruling you should be able to know the terms and duration of your punishment. I have never heard of a workplace conduct ruling that said "this employee is suspended until I decide he/she isn't." There usually is a length of suspension or a rehab requirement. An arbitrary decision (which this totally was and in all indications the courts thought it was, too) that leaves you bowing and groveling for your job is pretty rare. It seems way to coerce en employee to act in a way he or she would not normally (ie, blackmail). If Goodell had the decency he was harping about during this whole charade, he would have set a suspension and fine for Williams or banned him for life. There is absolutely no reason to leave it open ended other than ego and to make sure Williams would say "How high?" every time the NFL said jump.

#22 Shelterdog


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:38 PM

Why shouldn't the NFL be able to impose indefinite/open ended suspensions? Due process is part of it. Common sense/decency is another part of it. A work place can suspend you indefinitely while they investigate, but after they make a ruling you should be able to know the terms and duration of your punishment. I have never heard of a workplace conduct ruling that said "this employee is suspended until I decide he/she isn't." There usually is a length of suspension or a rehab requirement. An arbitrary decision (which this totally was and in all indications the courts thought it was, too) that leaves you bowing and groveling for your job is pretty rare. It seems way to coerce en employee to act in a way he or she would not normally (ie, blackmail). If Goodell had the decency he was harping about during this whole charade, he would have set a suspension and fine for Williams or banned him for life. There is absolutely no reason to leave it open ended other than ego and to make sure Williams would say "How high?" every time the NFL said jump.


Let me try again.

What rule do you want put in place to keep this from happening? Do you think there should be a federal law saying indefinite suspensions are illegal?

BTW make indefinite suspensions illegal and the reaction of the suspending parties will be "fine, ban them for life." In regulated industries people get banned for life all the time.

Edited by Shelterdog, 11 December 2012 - 03:50 PM.


#23 Hendu for Kutch

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:49 PM

There does have to be some oversight when the private organization in question is given anti-trust privileges, no? It's not something I'm terribly familiar with, but if my widget company suspends me unfairly I can quit and go make widgets elsewhere. Not so in the NFL.

#24 Shelterdog


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:58 PM

There does have to be some oversight when the private organization in question is given anti-trust privileges, no? It's not something I'm terribly familiar with, but if my widget company suspends me unfairly I can quit and go make widgets elsewhere. Not so in the NFL.


That's a huge question but the short answer is that if a CBA covers the activity then anti-trust law doesn't apply.

#25 dcdrew10

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:01 PM

Let me try again.

What rule do you want put in place to keep this from happening? Do you think there should be a federal law saying indefinite suspensions are illegal?

BTW make indefinite suspensions illegal and the reaction will be "fine, ban them for life."


I don't know, not being a legal scholar (big surprise, right) I am not sure how you would write the law; Congress can't even agree on a rule against indefinite detention of Americans captured by US forces overseas, but I could see the value of it from the employee's standpoint. I think I would rather be banned for life and know it than be stuck twisting in the wind.

#26 Marciano490


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:14 PM

Let's not have the federal government involved in employment law, even if limited to sports leagues.

#27 Myt1


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:18 PM

Let's not have the federal government involved in employment law, even if limited to sports leagues.


The NLRA is pretty cool. :lol:

#28 Shelterdog


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:19 PM

I don't know, not being a legal scholar (big surprise, right) I am not sure how you would write the law; Congress can't even agree on a rule against indefinite detention of Americans captured by US forces overseas, but I could see the value of it from the employee's standpoint. I think I would rather be banned for life and know it than be stuck twisting in the wind.


I guess my point is that a lot of people get in an uproar about how awful the NFL is, how they're taking away player's due process rights. (Ron Borges tweeted that the NFL has been trashing the constitution--as if that applies to NFL discipline) when the bottom line is that we live in a country where employees just don't have a ton of right and where employers generally can suspend you, fire you, discipline you, etc. in a million ways and the employee often has no rights at all.

Edited by Shelterdog, 11 December 2012 - 04:21 PM.


#29 dcmissle


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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:45 PM

In the main professional athletes, NFL players included, have more rights than most.

Even if there were an organizational policy favoring bounty pools, that's no defense. "I was just following orders" doesn't cut it and hasn't for some time. Nor is necessary that every proscribed form of behavior be spelled out in a collective bargaining agreement or code of conduct. Certain things are malum in se, and you can claim no surprise when you're punished for them.

There are a couple of areas where players, I think, have legitimate gripes. One is having Goodell acting as judge, jury and executioner -- and then reviewing his own actions. The other side of that is that the players could have made this a negotiating point in the most recent CBA negotiations, but chose not to.

The other area where Goodell has been on thin ice is disparate treatment. For example, what is a sufficient basis for discipline for off field stuff -- an accusation, an arrest, a conviction? For a while, Goodell seemed to be taking inconsistent positions on a case-by-case basis, and that is a problem, not only for the players but for their teams. Recently, this seems to have been recognized and corrected.

#30 Reverend


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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:00 PM

The coaches can't unionize. I'm 60% sure you were just kidding there.


He didn't say they could unionize, he said they need a union.

The distinction is not uninteresting...

#31 Mooch

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:56 AM

Charles Pierce's latest Grantland piece about this is fantastic: http://www.grantland...-bounty-scandal

#32 maufman


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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:05 AM

There are a couple of areas where players, I think, have legitimate gripes. One is having Goodell acting as judge, jury and executioner -- and then reviewing his own actions. The other side of that is that the players could have made this a negotiating point in the most recent CBA negotiations, but chose not to.


The players granted those sweeping rights to Goodell because they realized that it protects their collective livelihood to allow the Commissioner to impose harsh punishments on the likes of Pacman Jones or Ben Roethlisberger without worrying about appeals or due process. Goodell seized on a legalistic argument to apply that special rule to Bountygate.

Both sides can claim victory here. The union got confirmation that the extraordinary powers they gave to the Commissioner won't be interpreted going forward in a manner that's far broader than they intended -- which will cut short any effort by Goodell to repeat this performance. For his part, Goodell protected the shield by dropping the hammer at a time when the press was foaming at the mouth over Bountygate; I suspect he doesn't much care that he got reversed months later, when public attention had moved on to other things.

#33 SMU_Sox


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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:17 AM

He didn't say they could unionize, he said they need a union.

The distinction is not uninteresting...


They might be able to sue on a procedural due process claim... Our sports law professor was mulling that one over and we're not 100% sure if they have standing or not.

#34 Myt1


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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:38 AM

Who's the state actor?

#35 SMU_Sox


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Posted 14 December 2012 - 11:52 AM

There is no state actor. It's a private agency claim. You still need to provide procedural due process when you suspend someone.

#36 simplyeric


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Posted 16 December 2012 - 09:28 AM

He didn't say they could unionize, he said they need a union.

The distinction is not uninteresting...


Sorry for being dumb but why can't they unionize? (I'm coming from the position of 'I've never even thought about this before, and have no information in which to base an opinion')


#37 Reverend


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Posted 16 December 2012 - 03:40 PM

Sorry for being dumb but why can't they unionize? (I'm coming from the position of 'I've never even thought about this before, and have no information in which to base an opinion')


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