NFLPA Files Suit Against League over Bounty Player Suspensions
The NFL Players Association has filed a lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita after commissioner Roger Goodell rejected their appeals in connection with the New Orleans Saints bounty investigation, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN).
The NFLPA filed suit in a federal court in New Orleans on Thursday morning, claiming Goodell violated the league's collective bargaining agreement by showing he had already decided Smith, Hargrove and Fujita participated in the bounty program before serving as arbitrator at their hearing.
Goodell rejected the appeals on Tuesday, and the suit asks a judge to set aside any previous rulings and order that another arbitrator presides over a new hearing.
Linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who has been suspended for the entire 2012 season, is currently suing the NFL and Goodell separately.
Smith (four games), Hargrove (eight games) and Fujita (three games) were all suspended for their connection to a bounty program the league alleges the Saints ran under the supervision of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
As a result of the league's investigation, Williams has been suspended indefinitely, while New Orleans head coach Sean Payton has been banned for the entire 2012 season.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court, since Goodell is essentially given the power to be judge, jury and executioner under the NFL's CBA.
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