AP source: Union could challenge Tagliabue role

By Barry Wilner

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Oct. 21 2012 10:15 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2012, Roger Goodell, left, the NFL's chief operating officer, and Paul Tagliabue, NFL commissioner, pose for photos after Goodell was selected to succeed Tagliabue as the league's new commissioner at an NFL meeting in Northbrook, Ill. Goodell appointed Tagliabue on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012, to hear the appeals of four players suspended in the New Orleans Saints bounties scandal.

M. Spencer Green, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that the NFL players' union might challenge former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue as the appeals officer in the Saints' bounties case.

Tagliabue is scheduled to hear the appeals of Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove on Oct. 30. He was appointed by his successor, Roger Goodell.

The person familiar with the matter said Sunday the players association has concerns about "ethical and legal issues." The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the union has not made any public statements,

Tagliabue works for the law firm that is defending the league in U.S. District Court in Louisiana in the bounties case. The NFLPA believes that's a conflict of interest.

The union also may contend that such bounty programs existed when Tagliabue was commissioner, with his knowledge.

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