Roger Goodell

New Orleans Saints fans are celebrating the return of coach Sean Payton from his suspension following last year's "bountygate" scandal.

But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who will present the NFL championship trophy when the Super Bowl is played in New Orleans on Feb. 3, is getting a less-than-warm welcome in some quarters.

Some hold a grudge over the suspension of Payton and key players and coaches. Signs saying Goodell won't be served are posted at some bars and eateries. And Goodell's image adorns the dart board at one lounge.

To paraphrase Dr. John, such a weekend!

From the Westbank to New Orleans to Slidell, Carnival officially kicked into high gear these past few days as 19 krewes rolled, celebrating everything from lions and dogs, to Wookies and Greek gods… even Mona Lisa & Moon Pies.

But, now it stops. For nine days. Because the Super Bowl is coming to town. I’d rather have Santa Claus.

The NFL is denying accusations that it covered up retractions made by key witnesses in its bounty investigation, or that Commissioner Roger Goodell has placed gag orders on Saints employees and others who could help punished players clear their names.

Lawyer Peter Ginsberg, who represents suspended Saints player Jonathan Vilma, made the accusations when punished players appeared earlier this week for an appeal hearing, a full transcript of which has been obtained by The Associated Press.

NEW YORK — An arbitrator has ruled Monday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to discipline former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove for the New Orleans bounties program.

Hargrove, Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and DE Will Smith, and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, appealed their suspensions and will appear before Goodell next Monday.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been granted a 21-day delay for responding to a defamation lawsuit filed against him by Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

The delay is considered routine, and Goodell's lawyers now must respond by July 5 in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.