The NFL Players Association was dealt a blow in its hopes to get the effects nullified in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal on Monday. University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephen Burbank, acting as an arbitrator, determined that Commissioner Roger Goodell did indeed have the power to hand out punishments to players, which the NFLPA had disputed originally under the new CBA.
Nothing is set in stone for how the suspensions will eventually turn out, but this is a bad sign for the players. As it stands right now, Jonathan Vilma (full season), Anthony Hargrove (eight games) and Cleveland's Scott Fujita (three games) will all serve their respective suspensions, though all three players are still appealing them. According to the Associated Press, the NFLPA is also planning on appealing the decision made by Burbank as well by using a different arbitrator:
The union filed another grievance with a different arbitrator, Shyam Das, claiming the new CBA prohibits Goodell from punishing players for any conduct before the CBA was signed. The league's investigation showed the bounty program ran from 2009-11.
Das has yet to rule on that grievance, which also seeks to have player appeals heard by Art Shell and Ted Cottrell, who are jointly appointed by the league and union to review discipline handed out for on-field conduct.
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