Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/21/12
After playing his first regular-season game of the year on Sunday, New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma reportedly said he's satisfied that his appeal in the bounty case suspensions will be handled by former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "I think it's a good first step for Paul to be the neutral arbitrator," Vilma told NFL Network's Jeff Darlington. "We expect that he'll do things in a neutral capacity that will allow us to cross-examine some of the witnesses, that will allow us to see some of the evidence." Vilma doesn't know what to expect. "The old cliche, 'One week at a time.' I'll just focus on the week at hand," he said. "Even if I knew what to expect, I'd still only be focused on one game." Current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell recused himself from the appeals process. The hearing is scheduled for Oct. 30. There is some debate about whether Tagliabue would be a neutral party. But the league does not seem to suggest Tagliabue is a "neutral" arbiter.. "He's the commissioner's designated appeals officer per the CBA process," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Mike Florio of NBCSports.com's Pro Football Talk. "It is the system negotiated with the union for commissioner discipline. He is appointed by the commissioner. He is no different from any other commissioner designee to hear appeals of various disciplinary matters. Those people have included Jeff Pash, Harold Henderson, Bob Wallace and Jay Moyer, and courts have agreed that those individuals, all of whom are affiliated with the NFL, are entirely appropriate for that role."
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