Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has postponed Tuesday’s appeals hearings on the New Orleans Saints’ bounty case because of a tropical system forecasted to hit the Northeast, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Hurricane Sandy is expected to impact the Northeast on Monday and Tuesday. The hearing was to be held in Washington D.C. Tagliabue has yet to set a new date for the hearing, according to ESPN’s Andrew Brandt.
The postponement comes a day after NFL lawyers filed a motion in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, arguing that Tagliabue should be allowed to hear appeals in the bounty scandal.
In their motion, NFL lawyers quote defendant Jonathan Vilma’s statement to ESPN in which he supported Tagliabue being appointed to the role, saying, “I think it’s a good first step for Paul to be the neutral arbitrator.”
NFL lawyers wrote that, “Mr. Vilma was right that Commissioner Tagliabue was a good appointment.
“Commissioner Tagliabue has the experience necessary to assess whether the conduct the players engaged in was detrimental to the league and, if so, to assess the propriety of the discipline that Commissioner Goodell imposed. It is difficult to think of anyone else more qualified.”
The action comes after the players’ union and the four players suspended in the bounties’ case filed a motion asking that Tagliabue recuse himself from the case because of what they say is a conflict of interest. They want a neutral arbitrator to be appointed by the court.
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