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Live discussion: NFL Slam with Mark and Sam

December 14, 2012|By Houston Mitchell

This week's Friday edition of our NFL Google+ hangout -- "NFL Slam with Mark and Sam," starring Times NFL columnist Sam Farmer and Mark Thompson of "Mark and Brian" radio fame -- will start at 11:30 a.m. today and cover a host of topics.

One topic could include the decision by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to vacate the suspensions of the New Orleans Saints players involved in "Bountygate". As Farmer wrote earlier this week,

"In ruling on the New Orleans Saints' pay-to-injure bounty case, Tagliabue somehow found a middle ground that made the suspended players look like the winners, while protecting the league against any potential damages.

"Tagliabue, appointed to hear the latest appeals of the four suspended players, affirmed the "factual findings" of Commissioner Roger Goodell but vacated any penalties to the players. Instead, he laid blame at the feet of Saints coaches and administrators, those who either ran the improper bounty program or knew about it and did nothing to stop it.

"In such circumstances, players may not have much choice but to 'go along,' to comply with coaching demands or directions that they may question or resent," Tagliabue wrote in a 22-page decision. "They may know — or believe — that from the coaches' perspective, 'it's my way or the highway.' Coaching legends such as George Halas and Vince Lombardi are not glorified or remembered because they offered players 'freedom of choice.' "

"In that regard, the league has already taken action. Saints Coach Sean Payton was suspended for the season, General Manager Mickey Loomis sat out half the season, and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who by all accounts ran the program, has been indefinitely banned."

"NFL Slam with Mark and Sam" is usually held every Monday and Friday at 11:30 a.m. You can watch it on this blog post. If you have questions for Mark and Sam, email them to sportshangout@latimes.com and we will try to get them answered live during the chat.

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