Arbitrator finds for NFL in bounty case

June 8, 2012 at 5:12 PM
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NEW YORK, June 8 (UPI) -- Another arbitrator has ruled in favor of the NFL over players' union complaints regarding the bounty system once used by the New Orleans Saints.

An NFL spokesman put out a notice Friday on his Twitter account that arbiter Shyam Das found for the league in an appeal in which the NFL Players Association sought to have subsequent appeals heard by someone other than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Monday, arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled Goodell had the authority to suspend players found to be involved with the bounty program.

The suspended players were all members of the New Orleans Saints in 2009-11 when a program offered cash payments for big hits that forced opponents from the game, an NFL investigation found.

New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma was suspended for the entire 2012 season while defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, was benched for eight games; Saints defensive end Will Smith was suspended for four games; and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, for three games.

All have appealed the disciplinary action.

In addition to the players, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was suspended indefinitely for his lead role in the program. New Orleans Coach Sean Payton was suspended for the 2012 season and General Manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight regular-season games.

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