Arbitrator Decides, now Hargrove, New Orleans Saints players face Goodell On Bounty

Written by  // Monday, 11 June 2012 14:31 //

goodellThe arbitrator University of Pennsylvania professor Stephen Burbank ruled Monday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to discipline former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove for the New Orleans bounties program. Now, the big day appears to be next Monday as according to FoxSports, 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 on that day.

In making this ruling, Burbank, who had previously reserved judgment last week on Hargrove's case until the NFL provided more information why the Hargrove was suspended for eight games. Burbank’s ruling is that he has no jurisdiction over Hargrove. 

Burbank received a letter from the NFL that attributes ''the vast majority of (Hargrove's) eight-game suspension to lying ... and obstruction.'' The balance of evidence pertains to his ''active participation in the program by pledging and contributing money to the pool.''

According to NFL.com, after receiving a letter that the NFL sent to Hargrove on June 8, Burbank stated that the basis for Hargrove's suspension -- "pledging and contributing money to the [bounty] pool" and not necessarily agreeing to accept money -- was consistent with the reasoning for suspending the other players. That, Burbank stated, allowed Goodell to retain the right to rule against the players. The letter also stated Hargrove's lying during the investigation was another reason for his particular punishment.

The NFLPA had argued that the pay-for-performance program actually was a salary-cap issue. The NFL said the bounty program fell under "conduct detrimental" policies of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, upon which Goodell has full authority to rule and hear appeals. The NFLPA had previously said it would appeal Burbank's decision.



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