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Saints grievance hearings coming on May 16, 30

Super Bowl Football AP

If you weren’t watching PFT Live on Friday, you missed lawyer Peter Ginsberg talking extensively and in-depth regarding the issues arising from the NFL’s suspension of four players as a result of the bounty investigation:  Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita.

Ginsberg, who represents Vilma, said that the two grievances filed earlier this month will be heard on May 16 and May 30.

The first hearing will focus on the argument that the new CBA prevents the NFL from taking action of any kind against players for conduct occurring before August 4, 2011, along with the question of whether the appeals should be heard not by Commissioner Roger Goodell but by Ted Cottrell or Art Shell, jointly hired and paid by the league and the NFLPA to resolve appeals for on-field discipline.

The May 30 hearing centers on the contention that, to the extent the discipline arises from extra money paid to players in violation of the salary cap, the matter should be resolved via Special Master Stephen Burbank.

Ginsberg also said that the league still has not given him or the NFLPA evidence proving that the players funded or received payments from a bounty program, and he confirmed that other legal proceedings could be utilized.  The ultimate goal is to find a forum that will compel the NFL to share the evidence it has gathered regarding the question of whether the players are guilty, or innocent.

One way or the other, it’s only fair for the NFL to eventually disclose the evidence, and to provide a fair opportunity for Ginsberg and the NFLPA to scrutinize it.

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20 Responses to “Saints grievance hearings coming on May 16, 30”
  1. 69firebird says: May 12, 2012 11:38 AM

    If no evidence has been presented that a player either funded or received funds does not mean they did not participate in a bounty program. The funny thing about these pompous lawyers is that in every case one of the lawyers is WRONG. The players will loose this one. They participated in a bounty program and will be punished.

  2. SeenThisB4 says: May 12, 2012 11:50 AM

    If there is no evidence that a player either funded or received funds then YOU can’t prove they participated in a bounty program.

    In a legal tribunal, it’s not what you believe that counts, it’s what you can PROVE.

    And that nuiance is what will lead this grievance directly to a US court system.

  3. reesesteel23 says: May 12, 2012 12:02 PM

    CANNOT WAIT until the 30 for 30 on this whole deal.

  4. wayupsouth says: May 12, 2012 12:09 PM

    69firebird, you sure you’re not actually Roger Goodell? ‘Cause if you’re not, and you’ve got evidence, bring it.

  5. bigbadal21 says: May 12, 2012 12:11 PM

    Nothing was proven in the case involving Big Ben and he was suspended.

  6. cwmorga says: May 12, 2012 12:11 PM

    @69firebird says: May 12, 2012 11:38 AM

    If no evidence has been presented that a player either funded or received funds does not mean they did not participate in a bounty program. The funny thing about these pompous lawyers is that in every case one of the lawyers is WRONG. The players will loose this one. They participated in a bounty program and will be punished.
    ——————————

    What? So even if Goodell misrepresented his “evidence” and there is no TRUE evidence they participated in a bounty program, you think they should still be punished?

    Just say you don’t like the Saints and leave it at that. No need to make yourself look stupid.

  7. jason1980 says: May 12, 2012 12:25 PM

    I can’t wait for this to end up in court, that’s where the rubber will hit the road. Goddell wants to play hardball, will see what he’s got then. One more thing, not one piece of evidence has been provided to suggest the Saints had a pay-for-injury program. Those are only talking points for Goddell. This is about to get goooood. Get your popcorn and soda boys and girls!

  8. booker1974 says: May 12, 2012 12:42 PM

    The thing that has been so confounding about the whole mess to Saints fans is that the allegations don’t match the product on the field. If they really were taking the field trying to injure other players for three years you think it would have been noticeable. Instead people want to point to one hit on Kurt Warner, which was completely legal, and the game against the Vikings, in which the players were trying to advance to the Super Bowl.

    If there is evidence justifying suspending Payton and Vilma for a season, please show it.

  9. geauxmez says: May 12, 2012 1:37 PM

    What is going to really get interesting, is if the players win.. which i think the majority of fans want to see. How will the league right the wrong of suspending coaches, fining, and taking draft picks?

  10. jason1980 says: May 12, 2012 2:06 PM

    I remember when this story first broke, haters were out in force. Now that the truth is beginning to come to light, they’re gone into hiding. Just wait, the Saints are gonna bound their opponents into the next century this season.

  11. captatl says: May 12, 2012 4:22 PM

    The NFLPA will not prevail in either grievance. The players will have their appeal hearings heard and see the leagues evidence 3 days prior to the hearing. If the league felt they did not have sufficient evidence to stand up in appeals, they would never had suspended these players. To think they dont have evidence is just not smart. As for why they have not shown it yet….. they dont have too. The players will appeal and will serve the suspensions. No other lawsuits, or anything else. It will be done and all the Non believers will forever whine of conspiracy, yet the players will not.

  12. paulitik74 says: May 12, 2012 5:30 PM

    If Vilma’s lawyer wants to get him off on a technicality with the argument that he can’t be punished for actions prior to the CBA, considering the fact that he’s been lying up throughout the process until currently, and the fact that that Gregg Williams was recorded only a couple months ago, there is still plenty for Goodell to go on.

  13. neilnixon says: May 12, 2012 5:33 PM

    captatl says:
    The NFLPA will not prevail in either grievance. The players will have their appeal hearings heard and see the leagues evidence 3 days prior to the hearing. If the league felt they did not have sufficient evidence to stand up in appeals, they would never had suspended these players. To think they dont have evidence is just not smart. As for why they have not shown it yet….. they dont have too. The players will appeal and will serve the suspensions. No other lawsuits, or anything else. It will be done and all the Non believers will forever whine of conspiracy, yet the players will not.
    ———————————————-
    And you are basing your prediction on what? Your hopes? Your wishes??

    The reality is that you, myself and no one else REALLY KNOWS what the league has or doesn’t have because none of us have seen the evidence and the NFL hasn’t shown it.

    Your logic leads you to believe that they must have something strong against the players or they wouldn’t have taken such harsh action (of course this ignores the NFL is trying to show strong action for player safety to insulate it from lawsuits). My logic tells me that if the NFL’s case was so strong they wouldn’t need to embellish the expertise and independence of their “independent counsel”; they wouldn’t have to summarize Anthony Hargrove’s statement to say that he admitted to a bounty program and his role in it (when in fact a literal reading of his statement says no such thing) and they wouldn’t have highlighted as one of their primary nuggets of evidence an email from a guy in prison talking about a bounty which he now tells the AP was a total joke. And let’s not forget that the NFL in its statements mischaracterized this as “an email to Sean Payton” when it fact it wasn’t (it was directed to the Saints PR guy). If the NFL’s case is so lock-tight, why these embellishments?? And why won’t they release the evidence?

    People who keep saying the NFL wouldn’t have done this if they didn’t have the goods also never seem to ask themselves why Vilma, Fajita, Will Smith and the NFLPA would continue to make fools of themselves if they were so guilty?? This would make them even more hated…logically.

    The bottomline captatl is that YOU don’t know what happened, I don’t know what happened and the media doesn’t know what happened. The only ones who know are the players and the NFL, and none of us will know until we have a chance to see the evidence.

    Why are so many on this site against seeing the evidence???

  14. lawyermalloy says: May 12, 2012 5:35 PM

    Ginsberg’s arguments are ludicrous.
    Grievance #1 misstates the agreement between the union and the league. The agreement states that players cannot be disciplined for infractions occurring between the END of the prior CBA and the signing of the NEW CBA. The Saint’s alleged conduct occurred BEFORE the original CBA expired.
    Grievance #2: It is NOT alleged that the players somehow violated rules concerning salary cap.While there are allegations of money changing hands, the players WERE NOT suspended for Cap Violations and therefore a special Master isn’t warranted. In addition, players don’t have standing to argue cap issues; cap issues are between Teams and the League exclusively!

  15. stormbrewed says: May 12, 2012 5:52 PM

    Do the players really want to go this route? If, indeed the league has evidence of players receiving pay for injuries, the IRS will be very interested in how they reported the “income”.

    Also, remember, this isn’t a court of law, it’s the league’s court and the NFLPA is bound by their rules in which they agreed to in the collective bargaining agreement.

    The players should look how their coaches (who incriminated themselves and the players by their assertion of the program’s validity) lost their appeal.

    Lastly, I wonder how much video there is of what went on in the meetings. Remember the video that the filmaker allowed to be seen? I bet the league has plenty more. They’re certainly not showing that hole card until asked.

  16. pizzon says: May 12, 2012 6:48 PM

    the ability of Goodell to provide the proof that he claims to have is what will either make or break his case and I think he has nothing to prove his case. that is basically the cornerstone in any court of law in this country, the ability to prove your case beyond any reasonable doubt. hearsay means nothing in court its what you can prove!

  17. captatl says: May 12, 2012 7:19 PM

    @neilnixon….. What I know is that the NFL would not levy the suspensions that they have levied without solid evidence. No I have not seen it, but I say that the chances of them having it versus not having it is 95-5 or better. The league has nothing to gain by suspending players, and certianly less to gain for suspending players when they (the League) know that they (the players) can and will appeal, and would look plum stupid if they had nothing to base the suspensions on. The NFL is a 9 Billion dollar business and not about to do something that stupid. People that deny there is evidence or saying show ME/us the evidence are the ones hoping and wanting. Not me. I am just making a rational guess as to what is going to happen based on just good commen sense. Perhaps there is a family friend with a valium laying around. Perhaps it has your name on it.

  18. silentcount says: May 12, 2012 9:24 PM

    The only evidence that matters is what happens on the field. Goodell should know that he can’t throw flags for something a player might have said in a pep rally 3 years ago. Fans & players will accept penalties handed out in a game, because they can see the evidence in replays. They don’t accept fantasy calls with no explanation and no evidence. Goodell opened a can of worms that will turn into a hornets nest. In the end, Sean Payton’s suspension will prove to be unfair as well. But it doesn’t matter to Goodell, because he’s not interested in the truth. He’s just grasping at straws now, trying to make the Saints look guilty of something to justify the mistakes he’s made.

  19. neilnixon says: May 12, 2012 11:45 PM

    @ captatl….
    Your theory seems to be that because the NFL is a 9 billion dollar business that they wouldn’t make a mistake or overreach in an effort to protect their image. Well a lot of organizations larger than the NFL have made lots of bone-headed decisions (Enron, WorldCom and just this week JP Morgan come to mind).

    As to the valium and beliefs, I have always thought that the true sign of a weak argument was when someone tried to make it personal, since they’ve run out of logic. Your reference to me taking a valium really doesn’t advance this discussion does it?

    I’ll ask again, why are you afraid of the evidence??? If the NFL would just show everyone what they have, the whole thing is put to rest and we all know the truth. Until they do, I’ll logically assume they have something to hide.

  20. whodatgirl1 says: May 13, 2012 12:09 AM

    Most Saints fans aren’t flatly stating that the players are innocent; that their judgment will be based on the evidence presented. The Saints haters, however, have not thought about this concept–rather be part of the witchhunt.

    These Saints haters are calling Saints fans ignorant, stupid, and inbreds who should just get over themselves and accept the “facts”. If the Saints haters want the Saints fans to give in a little to the possibility that the bounties occured don’t they, in turn, need to give in to possibilty that they didn’t?

    Also, why has the NFL leaked so much of the evidence? And, one of the reasons that this was so heavily fined was due to the concussions, yet, it appears that it hasn’t exactly helped the situation. There appears to be more suits every other day with no end in sight.

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