Roger Goodell doesn’t care about courts, judges or appeals. He is here to tell everyone what is what. In May, he suspended Jonathan Vilma for an entire season, Scott Fujita for three games, Will Smith for four games, and Anthony Hargrove for eight games. In September an appeals panel overturned the suspensions. Today, Goodell announced the new suspensions of all four players. From Pro Football Talk:
This means that Vilma will be suspended a full season, Fujita will be suspended three games, Smith will be suspended four games, and Hargrove will be suspended eight games.
[grabs calculator] … Oh. I’m sorry, Commissioner Goodell, could you clarify what that means?
So what now?
All four players have the right to appeal the ruling to Commissioner Roger Goodell. Given that the players chose this time around to meet with Goodell before he issued the suspensions, the players may be more inclined to participate in the appeal process this time around.
An appeal process. How novel. What then?
Then, after the appeal process has been completed, the players likely will take the league back to court — barring a dramatic reduction or reversal of the punishments by Goodell.
Oh. They definitely won’t have to take it that far. I bet Goodell will be willing to cut the suspensions once he’s had a chance to think about it. Hopefully, this time it goes all the way to the Supreme Court. The court has never defined “absolute power” before, but they know it when they see it.