On Monday, the players suspended (again) for participating in a bounty program filed new motions in federal court, seeking to have his re-issued suspensions vacated — or at a minimum to have Commissioner Roger Goodell removed as the in-house arbitrator for the appeal of the suspension.
On Wednesday, the league responded.
The arguments are fairly simple. First, the league points out that the courts have no ability to dismiss an arbitration ruling before the ruling has even been made. Second, the NFL attacks the argument that Commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t qualified to serve as the arbitrator due to alleged bias and partiality. Third, the NFL claims that the challenges to the league’s in-house appeal procedures do not justify vacating the eventual arbitration ruling. Fourth, the NFL explains that the NFLPA’s attack on the new discipline imposed on Browns linebacker Scott Fujita should fail.
It’s all fairly standard legalese, part of the puzzle that eventually will result in the suspensions being served, or not being served.
It could be that the latest assault on the league’s procedures is aimed at influencing the internal appeal process, pressuring Goodell to create a hearing that objective seems more fair (or less unfair), and to possibly reduce the suspensions significantly via the appeal process. Either way, the legal train will keep rolling forward, and it eventually will reach a destination.