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Report: Paul Tagliabue won't recuse himself from bounty case

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue will not recuse himself from arbitrating bounty punishments. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Paul Tagliabue has denied a motion from the NFL Players' Association to recuse himself as the arbitrator for the appeals of those players suspended for their alleged participation in the New Orleans Saints bounty program, according to league sources in Chris Mortensen's report.

Tagliabue, the former NFL commissioner, was selected by current commissioner Roger Goodell as arbitrator to determine the latest suspensions given to Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove.

In deciding to hear the case, Tagliabue dismissed the argument of partiality players had made in their motion, citing that he is not only the former commissioner but also is a member of the law firm that represents Goodell in legal matters before a New Orleans federal court.
Tagliabue's decision not to recuse himself could be overturned by Judge Helen Berrigan who is considering an NFLPA motion to disqualify Tagliabue based on his employment with the law firm that has represented the NFL in bounty-related legal processes, as well as, Tagliabue’s potential role as a witness in the bounty case.

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