Posted by Mike Florio on November 29, 2012, 11:28 AM EST
It was known that, on Thursday, former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo will testify in the bounty appeal hearing conducted by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
It wasn’t known (or, at a minimum, it wasn’t accepted by some in the media) that former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams would testify on Friday.
After weeks of suggesting that Williams might not show up, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com finally has acknowledged that Williams will appear.
Williams, as we’ve been saying all along, has no choice. His indefinite suspension allows him to apply for reinstatement after a year, and the extent to which he cooperates with the league’s internal bounty-related proceedings is an express factor that the league will consider when considering whether to reinstate him.
So if Williams had refused to appear, the NFL quite likely would have refused to reinstate him.
And so the stage has been set for a pair of compelling days of testimony, with Cerullo and Williams initially tracking the terms of sworn statements that clearly were drafted by lawyers and then both getting separately grilled by attorneys Peter Ginsberg (who represents Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma) and Jeffrey Kessler (who represents Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove).
Adversarial proceedings are aimed at using opposing forces to get to the truth. In the end, Tagliabue will be the one to decide whether and to what extent Cerullo, Williams, and all other witnesses are telling the truth.
And I’d love to be a fly on the wall for the proceedings. (Actually, I’d prefer to simply have a microphone in the room. Being a fly on the wall means being a fly, which means having to eat a fairly wide range of nasty stuff.)