NFL Bounty Gate just will not go away. Players are suspended again, the ruling of Vilma’s defamation suit against the Commissioner is still pending, and the latest twist by Commissioner Roger Goodell announcing via a public statement notfiying the NFLA (players association) that he has appointed Paul Tagliabue (former NFL Commissioner) as the “hearing officer” who will listen to the four suspended players’ appeals and help bring the matter to closure.

Players voted and the results gave Goodell total control or “exclusive authority” over all appeals that involve conduct detrimental to the league in the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement). With the current situation of Tagliabue being appointed hearing officer, will this help pave the way in the future for disciplinary hearings to be heard by an independent individual outside of the Commissioner’s office?

“I have held two hearings to date,” Commissioner Goodell said, “and have modified the discipline in several respects based on my recent meetings with the players. To bring this matter to a prompt and fair conclusion, I have appointed former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to serve as the hearing officer for the upcoming appeals. Paul Tagliabue is a genuine football authority whose tenure as commissioner was marked by his thorough and judicious approach to all matters. He has many years of experience in NFL collective bargaining matters and an impeccable reputation for integrity”.

In a letter to DeMaurice Smith, Commissioner Goodell said, “Commissioner Tagliabue’s deep experience in professional football and his reputation for integrity and sound judgment, as well as his understanding of the CBA, the parties’ past practices, issues surrounding player safety rules and the integrity of the game, make him singularly qualified to hear and decide the appeals in an efficient and fair manner for all concerned.”

Question, is the former Commissioner too close to the situation, as a former employee for the NFL owners can he be neutral and will the NFLPA go along with this new development in the Bounty Case.

Softli’s Week 7 Picks;

Seattle @ San Francisco = 49ers (twitted prediction Thursday on @SoftliSTL)

Green Bay @ St. Louis = Packers

Washington @ NYG = Giants

Cleveland@ Indianapolis = Colts

Tennessee@ Buffalo = Bills

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay = Buccaneers

Dallas @ Carolina = Panthers

Arizona @ Minnesota = Vikings

Jacksonville @ Oakland = Raiders

Baltimore @ Houston = Texans

Pittsburgh @ Cincinnati = Bengals

NYJ @ New England = Patriots

Detroit @ Chicago = Bears

Remember, I’m not a professional odds maker. Please, please don’t bet the farm or mortgage the house on the above information even though I’m 53-39 after Week 6 on picking games straight-up. I concentrate on NFL team rankings both offensively and defensively, injuries, statistics, schemes, 53 man roster personnel and I evaluate a lot of film.

Quotes provided by NFL Communications department