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Former NFL Commissioner Tagliabue Named to Hear Saints Appeals

Paul Tagliabue, 71, will hold hearings Oct. 30. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg
Paul Tagliabue, 71, will hold hearings Oct. 30. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/Bloomberg

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Former National Football League Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will hear appeals in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, the league said in a statement.

Tagliabue, 71, commissioner from 1989-2006, will hold hearings for Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith, and Jonathan Vilma on Oct. 30. He was appointed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell’s original penalties were thrown out by an arbitrator who ruled that he overstepped his bounds. The players appealed his new penalties: Vilma’s full-season suspension was unchanged, Hargrove’s was cut one game to seven, Smith’s in half to four games, and Fujita by three to one game.

The NFL said about two dozen Saints players, led by former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, paid each other as much as $1,500 for targeting opponents such as Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre from 2009 to 2011.

Coach Sean Payton was barred for a year and Williams was suspended indefinitely. Mickey Loomis, the Saints’ general manager, received an eight-game suspension. Those penalties were allowed to stand.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Kuriloff in New York at akuriloff@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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