Arbitrator hears first grievance in 'Bountygate' punishments

Posted May 16, 2012 @ 7:29 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

The NFL Players Association argued the first of its two grievances on behalf of the players suspended in the Saints' bounty scandal, which was heard by NFL arbitrator Shyam Das at NFL headquarters in New York on Wednesday. According to NFL.com, the meeting lasted 2½ hours.

Packers DE Anthony Hargrove and Browns LB Scott Fujita, both former Saints players, were present at the meeting, but commissioner Roger Goodell was not. According to the report, the NFL was represented by Dan Nash of the Akin Gump law firm and other attorneys, while Jeffrey Kessler argued the NFLPA's grievance.

Hargrove has been suspended eight games and Fujita four games for their involvement in the bounty program run by Saints coaches from 2009-11.

In this grievance, the NFLPA argued that Goodell had no authority to punish the players because the infractions occurred before the signing of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement last August. Das did not say when he would make a ruling.

Another grievance hearing for the players is scheduled for May 30, in which the union will argue that Goodell doesn't have authority to hear the players' appeals of their punishments, but rather that they should be decided by special master Stephen Burbank, the arbitrator designated to decide such disputes under the new CBA.