Scott Fujita is currently in limbo in regards to the first three games of the 2012 season. He's suspended as part of the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, and that unquestionably hurts the Cleveland Browns, a team that boasted an above-average defense in 2011. They'll need that defense up to snuff again in 2012 with so many new moving parts on offense.
Fujita has denied any involvement in the bounty scandal, suggesting that he hasn't even seen any evidence from the league in a released statement, and has officially appealed. Rather, Fujita has filed a reservation of rights, meaning that he's keeping the ability to appeal at a later date while the NFL and the NFL Players' Union battle out the issue of whether or not the suspensions are even allowed.
In other words, the union is suggesting that the commissioner Roger Goodell and the league don't have the ability to punish players for things that happened before the newest collective bargaining agreement was signed in August. It's going to arbitration, and according to the Associated Press, the date for said Arbitration is set for May 30.
Stephen Burbank of the University of Pennsylvania has been asked to rule on if the players should be able to be punished for something that happened before the aforementioned agreement was signed. They're asking that Burbank officially review their appeals as opposed to Goodell, and all of that apparently hinges on a separate hearing that's being held Wednesday before arbitrator Shyam Das, to visit the talk about the CBA and the dates involved.
It sounds like Burbank could only be the arbitrator in regards to the filed appeals by Fujita, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Jonathan Vilma, but that will hinge on how the other arbitration plays out.
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