Green Bay Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove had his eight-game bountygate suspension upheld, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
After all, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is the sole authority choosing the punishment, handing out the conviction, hearing the appeal and ruling on it. In his letter to Hargrove and the three other former New Orleans Saints convicted, Goodell cited the players’ reluctance to take part in the appeal proceedings as his reason for upholding the suspensions.
“Although you claimed to have been ‘wrongfully accused with insufficient evidence,’ your lawyers elected not to ask a single question of the principal investigators, both of whom were present at the hearing,” Goodell wrote in his appeal ruling. “You elected not to testify or to make any substantive statement, written or oral, in support of your appeal; you elected not to call a single witness to support your appeal; and you elected not to introduce a single exhibit addressing the merits of your appeal.”
Goodell did leave the door open for players to present evidence on their behalf, meaning there’s still a slight chance the suspensions could be reduced.
”The record confirms that each of you was given multiple chances to meet with me to present your side of the story,“ Goodell said. ”You are each still welcome to do so.”
Thus far, the players seem to merely be crying foul about the evidence presented against them. Although that evidence is vague at best, the players haven’t done anything to refute it.
Whether they will remains to be seen, but their unwillingness to participate in the NFL’s process leaves the possibility open that this could end up in court.