Optimism was expressed by players like New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma who is one of four NFL players set to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week in regards to suspensions issued in the offseason. From what it looks like, he could turn pessimistic.
The league issued a statement regarding the suspensions for Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita, and Anthony Hargrove that were temporarily lifted. In fact the league has a different view on the matter. One part states that,
The panel did not overturn the suspensions and did not say Commissioner Goodell overstepped his authority.
It’s important to know that the part is true because in fact, the suspensions weren’t really overturned, but as noted earlier, temporarily lifted. While some including Saints fans think Goodell went above and beyond his authority, the NFL contends this on the ruling,
The panel did not take issue with any findings that were made in the course of the investigation, did not exonerate anyone involved, and did not say that the commissioner “overstepped his authority.”
The panel made clear that the commissioner had full authority to impose discipline on the players so long as the discipline was attributable to conduct detrimental to the league, rather than “undisclosed compensation.”
This meeting could be just more of a formality or a “save face” by the NFL towards the players showing the public that the league is being just in giving the players chance after chance. Why though if Goodell already has his mind made up?
The answer like I mentioned is an attempt likely to bolster a “hey we’re trying” by the NFL. Keep in mind though, these meetings are said by the league to be so that the players can produce any “new” evidence in their defense that contradicts the investigation into the bounty claims.
If the players simply go in to plead their case and not bring what the NFL considers contradictory evidence, then we’ll very likely see the suspensions reinstated by Goodell with the reason being “conduct detrimental” to the league.