First bounty battle could relate to who handles the appeals

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The players who have been suspended for their roles in the bounty program reportedly intend to fight, on multiple fronts.  The first fight will arise via the appeal process.

Actually, the first fight before the first fight could be whether the NFL has designated the right appeal process.  “Each player disciplined today is entitled to appeal the decision within three days,” the league’s official announcement explains.  “If an appeal is filed, Commissioner Goodell would hold a hearing at which the player may speak on his behalf and be represented by counsel.

For punishments imposed due to on-field infractions, the appeals are handled by either Ted Cottrell or Art Shell, who are jointly appointed and paid by the NFL and the NFLPA.  For punishments imposed due to off-field infractions, the NFL handles the appeal.

The designation of Goodell as the person holding the hearing means that the NFL has characterized the bounty penalties as relating to off-field violations.  The NFLPA could decide to argue that the NFL should have treated the situation as an on-field infraction.

It’s unclear whether the NFLPA will make that argument or where the argument would be made, but why not give it a try?  It’s unlikely that Roger Goodell will change his own mind; Shell or Cottrell could decide to change it for him.

Then again, to the extent that the players hope to attack the process via federal court, they may be better off letting it ride, so that they can challenge Goodell’s review of Goodell’s decision.

23 responses to “First bounty battle could relate to who handles the appeals

  1. This is dumb – it has to be an off field violation. If the NFLPA argues it was an on field violation then they are opening themselves up to the argument that there cannot be an on field violation (the intent to injure) without an off field violation (the bounty). No bounty = no intent to injure.

    They should take the appeal with Goodell because it is the fastest way to Federal court … which is what they want anyway but fear if they file there first it will either A) Get kicked back to the league or B) that their ability to appeal to the league will expire and they will be forced to take the suspensions.

  2. I’m a Saints fan and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. These player suspensions have almost zero effect on the Saints’ chances in 2012.

    I still want to see the evidence. This is not a Saints issue, this is something that ALL fans of football and the NFL should be interested in.

    Why? Because your sport being run by a person who knowingly lied to Congress about concussions. … Who burned evidence in the Spygate case. … And who is still now refusing to provide evidence that any Saints player or coach (other than Gregg Williams) was involved in a pay-to-injure scheme.

    Goodell is slimy and needs to be gone from the game before he makes things even worse than they already are.

  3. Vilma is a player rep who was heavily involved in the new CBA. I’m sure he agreed to the terms of the agreement…the terms being that Goodell and the league would handle player discipline. What a hypocrite he is now.

    He can argue and fight until he is blue in the face, but all the while knowing he actually signed his own suspension when he said yes a year ago.

  4. I’m surprised the Saints coaches and front office personnel who were suspended haven’t take legal action as well.

    It’s not smart ot just fall on your sword without a fight. The NFL is making unilateral moves with complete disregard to fairness, and it seems they may be making some mistakes in their effort to steam roll any one in their way.

  5. If it were an on-field violation it would have already been handled. Just ask Harrison or anyone else penalized for on-field violations.

    At least they’re not being penalized for breaking the spirit of a non-existant rule.

  6. If they were smart, they would just take their suspensions quietly. They have statements from Hargrove that state that he knew and participated in the bounty scheme. They have coaches that admit that it was run. The list goes on.

    If they fight it, they will still get their suspensions AND some IRS/Congress investigations. It is only going to make things worse for them.

  7. Darren sharper needs to shut the hell up, how can he say that goodell was to harsh when these are grown men who tried to take players out of the game. What do you expect, them to not do anything? They should go unpunished? Players get injured every game in the nfl, to try to take them out deliberately is insane and not tolerated. Vilma knew his career is getting up there age wise and he knew that what they were doing wrong so I don’t care how old he is, he got what he deserved. No sympathy for a guy whose not playing by the rules, players need to shut up and worry about their own football career. I hate to say this about my own kind but they think that they can just do all the wrong things and when it catches up with them, they feel they shouldn’t have gotten punished hard for what they did. Two, look at the players who tweeted about the suspension that it was too harsh, they stick up for their own kind. Im with the commissioner on this and I hope it sticks and appeals are denied.

  8. Circumvention of the salary cap is an off-field violation. Bounties fall into this category.

    Lying to the commisioners investigation in 2010 is an off the field violation.

    However I have never been happy with Goodell being Judge, Jury and Executioner without an independent avenue of appeal. Bad move by the NFLPA to have that provision in the contract.

  9. If I were the NFLPA I would seek Goodell’s suspension and fine him.

    It’s his injury reporting policy, which puts gambling interests ahead of player safety, that made Bountygate possible.

    Any coaches who tried to protect their players by withholding injury information even saw additional fines themselves.

    It’s about time that someone called out Goodell for his own role in this and pressed him to stop dictating rules and punishment based on the winds of public opinion.

  10. Joesixpack: its about time someone called out goodell and told him to stop dictating rules and punishment…

    Dude, you are late to the party. The steelers rejected the CBA based on goodell having too much power. And they told the other teams eventually this “rule” will hurt them–but players wanted to get paid, so they signed on the dotted line. And now I bet you some players wished they rejected the CBA. Too late now.

  11. They’re guilty. They know it. Let them appeal. I’m glad Goodell has the ‘nads to dole out punishment when it’s appropriate.

  12. How anyone can criticize Goodell in this scandal is beyond me. The Saints performed one of the dirtiest scams in big league sports since MLB’s Chicago Black Sox scandal 90+ years ago. The commissioner had to be tough.

    And he’s performing in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement. No Court will take jurisdiction.

    Players should lick their wounds, keep their mouths shut, and move on.

  13. Does anyone believe that money was going to change hands while standing between the stripes, during a game?

    Or that a locker room has on-the-field play?

    Are unions, in order to flee accountability, going to descend even so low as to abandon their sacrosanct CBA?


  14. LOL Before the suspension all we heard was saints fans calling bull crap and saying how they are getting the shaft. Now that penalties were handed out to 4 people they are jumping for joy.

    If that does not tell you the miss character of justice ever. 4 players out of the years they ran the bounty program. LOL that is so funny I forgot to laugh.

    What about the others? the others that put money in the pool and took part in all this? Is Goodell simply telling the rest of the world they have no prove of who all the others were? Just sick Goodell that you went after 4 players and let the rest escape punishment.

    Just another abuse of power from the biggest power tripper to ever exist on planet earth.

  15. My Post keep getting left out….Here goes again.

    Goodell, Judge and JURY! now that’s what I call justice….

  16. Doublegator—– According to the NEW CBA agreement signed by NFLPA representatives, that’s EXACTLY what it is. Thank DeMaurice and Shell for that my friend and the players that ratified the AGREEMENT. aka. Contract

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