NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell probably felt confident that his friend and mentor former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue would uphold his findings in the New Orleans Saints bounty case when Tagliabue stepped in as an arbitrator.
In the end Tagliabue threw a bone to both sides when he did find that there was conduct detrimental but placed more of the blame on the coaches and vacated the player suspensions.
In an interview with the New York Times, Goodell expressed these thoughts,
“I was disappointed he could find conduct detrimental and there is no discipline, that he could excuse that type of accountability as a coach’s responsibility. I don’t share that perspective. This isn’t a new policy. The bounty rule has been in place for decades. It’s a core part of our rules.”
The suspended players were relieved that Tagliabue was coming in to hear the case even though linebacker Jonathan Vilma tried a last ditch effort to get Tagliabue removed because he still felt that there might be that much impartiality considering Goodell and Taglibue’s close friendship.
Tagliabue though was always a fair but stern hand of justice when it came to things when he was in charge. Those will remember that he famously suspended cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones for a full year for a series of offenses including conduct detrimental, albeit a different circumstance.
In a Monday Morning Quarterback by SI.com’s Peter King, Goodell gave a rather cutting remark that shows players and fans can expect more of the same as long as he is Alpha and Omega in the NFL by saying,
“If you want to be a cheerleader, go be a cheerleader. If you want to be a commissioner, go make the decisions.”