SBD/September 12, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Roger Goodell Agrees To Meet With All Four Suspended Bountygate Players

Goodell will determine punishment after hearing from the four players
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has “agreed to meet with all four players suspended for their alleged involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal,” according to Ed Werder of ESPN.com. The dates of the meeting with the players -- Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove -- have “not been determined, but they likely will not occur before next week.” Goodell has said that he will “determine any punishment in the case after hearing from the reinstated players.” Vilma's attorney Peter Ginsberg, said that he has “not been provided any assurances the league would allow the players and their legal representatives the opportunity to review evidence or cross-examine witnesses.” Werder noted those issues “prompted Vilma to walk out” of his previous appeals hearing with Goodell (ESPN.com, 9/11). ESPN's John Clayton said Goodell and the players, specifically Vilma, can “sit down and officially talk and see, ‘Okay, where’s the evidence,’ and maybe they can work something out." Clayton: "This is a great breakthrough and it’s a smart thing for Vilma to do. ... The only way you can at least get some settlement is to start talking” (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 9/11). Newsday’s Bob Glauber said a meeting has to “happen pretty soon because Roger Goodell wants to get an expedited decision on what he’s going to do now that these suspensions have temporarily been vacated” (“NBC Sports Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 9/11).

REPLACEMENT OFFICIALS: 
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said the NFL replacement officials are “under a lot of scrutiny,” and those working the 49ers-Packers game on Sunday “deserve the scrutiny.” Rodgers: “You have to understand the rules." He added, “It’s just frustrating when you think you are positive there is either a missed call or the rule is not interpreted the way it’s supposed to be interpreted. There were multiple instances of that. When you watch the film, it’s frustrating. Some just bizarre calls on both sides. Anybody who saw the TV copy -- I saw it from the sideline -- we scored a touchdown on a legit block in the back. I don’t know what happened on that. It just hopefully will get better" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 9/12). Meanwhile in N.Y., Chase Stuart wrote although there were “the usual complaints and borderline calls,” the replacement refs “did not steal much attention from the players on the field” during games this past weekend. It is “difficult to test whether the replacement referees were any different than the regular crews” (NYTIMES.com, 9/11). In Nashville, David Climer writes, “In many of the games I’ve seen both in person and on TV, many officials appear star-struck or intimidated -- or both. They simply aren’t prepared to be in the positions the NFL front office has put them” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/12).
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