Hargrove, Fujita present at grievance hearing


In a former life, I always encouraged clients to attend important hearings, since it demonstrates to the person making the decision that the person about whom the decision is being made takes the situation seriously and cares deeply about the outcome.

Regardless of their motivation, that’s the message Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove have sent by personally attending the grievance hearing before Shayam Das, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com.

The two current Saints who face bounty-related suspensions are not present.  Per Breer, linebacker Jonathan Vilma decided to remain with the team for offseason workouts.  (It’s unknown why Smith didn’t attend.)

Their absence doesn’t mean they don’t care.  Given that Vilma and Smith play for the team that was hit hardest by the penalties, it makes sense for them to choose to stay at the workouts over attending the grievance hearing.  They already believe they’re facing unwarranted suspensions; why make it worse by missing the limited opportunities in the offseason to get ready for the regular season?

Das is taking up two questions — whether the new CBA waives the ability to impose discipline for anything happening before August 4, 2011 and whether the appeals should be handled not by Commissioner Roger Goodell but by Ted Cottrell or Art Shell, who review decisions regarding on-field discipline.  As explained during Wednesday’s PFT Live, Hargrove may have the best luck under the latter argument, since the other three players have been suspended not for acting on a potential bounty but for funding and/or managing the bounty pool.

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6 responses to “Hargrove, Fujita present at grievance hearing

  1. Wise strategy to only send Fujita/Hargrove, they both were off the team prior to the new CBA. In the cases of Smith and Vilma the league will argue that their participation in the Bounty program preceded the current CBA and continued through the 2011-12 season, therefore subjecting themselves to the conduct detrimental to the league provision in the current CBA. We might find separate rulings will be handed down for each player. We are starting to see why Goodell only punished these four men and not the entirety of the alleged 22-27. Eventually all of these battles will be on a player by player basis, that would have been way too ugly. I believe Goodell knew the player portion of the punishment was going to be difficult to uphold, thus the extreme suspensions of Williams, Payton, Loomis, Vitt and team.

  2. If the player’s suspensions are overturned that arbitrator can kiss his job goodbye, again.


  3. Vilma is not participating in team workouts because first, Vilma is rehabbing his knee from surgery, and second, I don’t think they are having any team workouts this week. Where Smith is, is anybody’s guess.

  4. I would venture say its because of stupid arrogance they did not show much like the organzation displayed when they were warned to stop.

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