Arbitrator rules for NFL in bounty grievance

6/8/2012 2:33:48 PM

Shyam Das ruled in favor of the NFL on Friday, upholding the authority of Roger Goodell to discipline players after the union had sought to have appeals in the case heard by someone other than the commissioner.

It followed a ruling Monday by Stephen Burbank saying Goodell had authority to suspend four players for their roles in the bounty system.

The NFLPA had claimed the league waived its right to impose discipline on players for conduct occurring prior to the signing of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement last August.

Players wanted Ted Cotrell and Art Shell to be part of the process because they were appointed by the league and union to review appeals for on-field conduct.

But Das dismissed the grievance, saying the provision waiver the union was relying on didn't constitute an agreement that Goodell relinquished his authority to discipline players for conduct occurring prior to the signing of the CBA on Aug. 4.

Goodell suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season, current Green Bay defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove for eight games, Saints defensive end Will Smith for four games and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, for three games.

All four players have appealed the suspensions. Their hearings will proceed on June 18, according to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.