FOOTBALL — 04 May 2012

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance which challenges the authority of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to suspended four players for their individual involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty program.

The claim was filed with arbitrator Stephen Burbank, a University of Pennsylvania law professor. The grievance is claiming that Goodell cannot punish players for conduct prior to August 4th, when the current collective bargaining agreement took effect.

The four suspensions were initially announced by Goodell on Wednesday. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma received the most lengthy suspension of the group, and is suspended without pay for the entire 2012 season.

Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove was suspended for 8 games; defensive end Will Smith, for four games; and linebacker Scott Fujita, for 3 games.

In the grievance the union claims, “in connection with entering into the 2011 CBA, the NFL released all players from conduct engaged in prior to the execution of the CBA, on August 4, 2011.”

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