The NFLPA grievance filed with regard to the suspensions of Saints players in the alleged pay-to-injure program is schedule to be heard by arbitrator Shyam Das on Wednesday in New York City.
The case, filed by the NFLPA May 3, argues that NFL commission Roger Goodell does not have the ability to punish players for behavior that took place before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was executed in August 2011.
The NFLPA is also arguing that the alleged misconduct relates to on-field behavior and as such, the appeal should not be heard by Goodell but by either Art Shell or Tedd Cottrell, who handle appeals for on-field playing issues under the new CBA.
The arguments will be presented on Wednesday, but it may take some time for the final decision. Either of the arguments going in favor of the NFLPA would severely curtail Goodell’s power with respect to this particular case.
At issue are suspensions handed down by Goodell to four current and former Saints players for their alleged involvement in the Saints pay-to-injure program. Goodell has already suspended coaches Gregg Williams (indefinitely) along with current Saints head coach Sean Payton (2012 season), Joe Vitt (six games) and general manager Mickey Loomis (eight games). The longest of the player suspensions went to defensive captail Jonathan Vilma, who was suspended for the entire 2012 season.
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