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Roger Goodell disagrees on lack of bounty punishment

One day after former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue vacated suspensions for the four players tied to the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal, current NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with reporters at the December Special League Meeting in Dallas to respond.

"We came to the same conclusion as far as the facts are concerned," Goodell said. "Clearly, the bounty program was in place, despite the denials. Clearly, that this is something considered conduct detrimental. Where I think Commissioner Tagliabue and I disagree is on the fact of discipline.

"I think when there's conduct detrimental, there should associated discipline, and that's where we disagree. But I respect his decision, and we're moving on."

More from Goodell's meeting with the media:

»*On where he and Tagliabue differed:* "I think his report made it quite clear that he holds the management and the coaches responsible. My personal view is I hold everyone responsible. We have to have a personal responsibility here. Player health and safety is an important issue in this league, and it's going to take everyone. ... I fundamentally disagree that this is something that lies just with coaches and management."

»*On if Tagliabue's decision makes it tougher for Goodell to level player discipline:* "Absolutely not. ... I'm going to continue to do what's right, particularly when it comes to player health and safety."

»*On losing credibility with players around the NFL:* "One of the things that's very clear here is that there have been denials that a bounty program was in place. I think that's conclusively proven. There is no question about that. And that's unfortunate for the league in general, for all 2,000 players and 32 clubs. ... I'm not going to resist to meet my obligation to do what's right for the game long-term."

»*On if he should apologize to the punished players:* "Commissioner Tagliabue said there's no one (in the New Orleans organization) that should feel good about their role in this, with respect to the Saints. That this is something that people may judge us, and none of them should be feeling very good about those judgments. I think to have a bounty program where you're targeting players for injury is completely unacceptable, and it's clear that occurred for three years."

»*Have we seen the NFL's last bounty program?* "I sure hope so."

»*On expanding the playoffs:* "Right now we're with 12 teams, obviously. We'll look at probably 14 or 16 teams." Oh, boy.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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