As if the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal and the punishments from the league weren’t enough, the hearing scheduled for Oct. 30 with former NFL Commissioner and new arbitrator in the case, Paul Tagliabue, has been postponed due to the impending hurricane heading towards the East Coast, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Tuesday's Hearing in front of Paul Tagliabue is postponed because of the weather.—Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 27, 2012
Weather stations across the eastern seaboard have called Hurricane Sandy one of the most potentially dangerous storms in years, and the cancellation of this hearing is strictly due to the impending weather issues.
Should Paul Tagliabue recuse himself from this case?
What It Means
As much as NFL fans will want to dive deeper to find a meaning behind this cancellation, this is simply a case of bad weather making an already tough situation even tougher.
The delay will not change the outcome of the hearing, so the only real difference hindering on the date of the hearing is when the possible penalties would take effect.
If the meeting is delayed long enough, the players facing suspension could play in Week 9 if eligible.
While nothing has been rescheduled as of this moment, the league will figure out when the hearing will take place after the hurricane has made its way past the East Coast, and the cleanup effort is completed.
There were issues with this meeting before the weather ever became a factor, with the players motioning to recuse Tagliabue from the appeals process (per Larry Holder of NOLA.com) after current commissioner Roger Goodell recused himself from the hearings.
Those players—Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove—have “until noon on Monday to reply to Judge Helen Berrigan in U.S. District Court to the NFL's opposition” regarding the players’ request for Tagliabue to step down.
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