In what was an expected result an independent arbitrator has ruled the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does have the authority to suspend players for their role in the Saints Bounty Program:
An arbitrator ruled Monday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to discipline New Orleans Saints players for their role in a bounty system.
The NFL Players Association challenged Goodell's power to impose penalties for what the league says was a three-year bounty program that targeted specific players. Stephen Burbank, a University of Pennsylvania law professor, took only five days to determine that Goodell has the power to punish the players under the collective bargaining agreement reached last August to end the lockout.
If think that the Player's Union might now let this rest you can forget that. They seem to be on plan C of a very lengthy challenge:
The union filed another grievance with a different arbitrator, Shyam Das, contending 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.
The league and union have spent plenty of time before arbitrators and judges this offseason, with two other major cases pending.
Though this is getting very old I must say I still find it amusing that LB Jonathan Vilma still completely denies the existence of a bounty program:
"What I've said before, there was no bounty program in place," Vilma told Rapoport. "I never paid anybody, intended to pay anybody — that's the truth. Never sought out to injure people. That's the truth. That's really about it. I can't really go into detail ... "We asked for evidence, and [Goodell] wouldn't give it to us ... I said, 'OK. How can I defend myself if I don't know what I'm defending against?'"
I guess I'll refer to character George Costanza by saying to Jonathan "It's not a lie if really you believe it". But I guess he will keep saying it now that he has backed himself into a corner.