Tagliabue's Affidavit Addresses "Smash For Cash" Ahead Of Ruling
Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue wrote in an affidavit that he had never heard of the “Smash for Cash” program or seen the '96 ESPN feature detailing payments to NFL players for injurious hits. The NFLPA has raised the existence of the program, and Tagliabue’s alleged approval of it, as evidence that the bounty program the NFL is currently punishing has a long history. The union also argued that Tagliabue, who is expected to rule this week on the appeals of the NFL’s bounty punishments, should have recused himself. The NFL in October appointed him the appeals officer.
In a Nov. 5 letter turning down the recusal request, and filed publicly in Louisiana court for the first time this afternoon, Tagliabue wrote until his counsel asked him on Oct. 28, 2012, to watch the ESPN segment, he had never heard of it. The feature refers to an NFL spokesperson saying the league had no problem with it, but Tagliabue wrote he does not know who that person was. The letter and affidavit sheds some light on how Tagliabue might rule.