Sunday, October 21, 2012

Begin the thawing of Joe Vitt

Today is Aaron Kromer's last day as fake interim head coach of the New Orleans Saints.  Did you remember to buy flowers?

Update: Apparently Vitt remembered. He'll be at the airport to greet the team after today's game. Probably with a bouquet in hand.
To say Vitt has been awaiting this day would be an understatement. His suspension marked the first time in 44 years he has not coached football.

"I missed these guys so bad," he said this weekend.
We missed the eminently quotable Joe Vitt bad too.  Here's to a memorable rest of the season.

Also of note from that ESPN post.

Meanwhile, if former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue delivers a ruling significantly different from commissioner Roger Goodell's when he hears the appeals of players suspended as a result of the NFL's bounty investigation, many league sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen that they believe Saints owner Tom Benson will petition Goodell to reconsider Payton's one-year suspension.

Uh-huh.  Don't bet on him getting the opportunity.  The likelihood that Tagliabue will do anything to contravene Goodell's actions is less than nothing.  Dan Wetzel wrote a pretty good column about this earlier in the week. 

"To be clear," Goodell said in a statement, "I have not consulted with Paul Tagliabue at any point about the Saints matter, nor has he been any part of the process."

If you have to explain that the appeal process isn't corrupt, let alone specifically note that the new guy didn't consult on the original penalties (even though it would be reasonable to assume he might have), then there really isn't much hope for credibility. And that's especially true from the groups (some fans, some players) who already think this was a witch hunt.

The best process – and judge – needs no defense.

Goodell and the NFL will regret not finding a true independent mind here – there is no shortage of retired judges out there who could've sorted this out. In an actual legal court, Tagliabue would have to recuse himself because of his past. And the idea that this is too complicated for anyone but a NFL commissioner, past or present, is the definition of arrogance. All this does is call into question what, in all likelihood, is meant to be a legitimate process.
 Also, too, Tagliabue is currently representing Goodell in Jonathan Vilma's defamation lawsuit against him. I'm sure he'll have every incentive to be absolutely fair.

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