Report: NFLPA Challenges Bounty Suspensions, Stating Ruling Lies With System Arbitrator, Not Commissioner

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 18: Isaac Redman #33 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs into the endzone to score a touchdown in front of Anthony Hargrove #94 of the Seattle Seahawks during the game on September 18, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

A report from Pro Players Insider says the NFLPA has filed a grievance with the NFL vice president of labor arbitration and litigation, Buckly Briggs, and System Arbitrator, Professor Stephen Burbank of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, stating the suspensions doled out to current Saints players Jonathan Vilma and Will Smith, and former Saints players Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove, "violated the [league's] duty of fairness to the players 'because the process violated various procedural requirements of the Collective Bargaining Agreement,' including limits on Goodell's authority over the matter and failure to disclosure sufficient evidence of the violations."

All four players were suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week for their part in a pay-for-performance system, specifically, payment for hits that would cause injuries on opposing players.

According to Pro Players Insider, the grievance states Goodell is The NFLPA's grievance filing states that Goodell is "prohibited from punishing NFL players for any aspect of the ‘pay-for-performance/bounty' conduct occurring before August 4, 2011," which was when the new Collective Bargaining Agreement went into effect.

The web site has documents supporting the union's claim, as they reported it.

It's an interesting motion, bringing light to the union's claims Goodell's lack of disclosure of evidence that led to the suspensions. The league has not confirmed the grievance, but all four players have said they plan to appeal the suspensions.

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