Burbank retains jurisdiction as to Hargrove

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The bad news for Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita is that Special Master Stephen Burbank has indeed scrapped their grievances aimed at nudging the bounty discipline process from Commissioner Roger Goodell and toward Burbank.

The good news (if there is any) for Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove is that Burbank has retained jurisdiction, so that Goodell can “specify the nature” of Hargrove’s alleged participation in the bounty program.  “If receipt of (or agreement to accept) payments from the pool plays any part in the revised decision (or decision on apeall), the NFLPA may return to seek relief,” Burbank writes in the nine-page decision, a copy of which PFT has obtained.

That likely won’t happen, as evidenced by the nature of Hargrove’s misconduct, as specified by the league’s statement in response to Burbank’s ruling.

“System Arbitrator Stephen Burbank upheld the commissioner’s authority under the Collective Bargaining Agreement to impose ‘conduct detrimental’ discipline on players who provided or offered to provide financial incentives to injure opponents,”  the league explains.  “He also upheld the commissioner’s authority to impose such discipline against players who obstructed a league investigation.  The System Arbitrator thus confirmed the commissioner’s authority to suspend Mr. Fujita, Mr. Smith and Mr. Vilma.  He invited the commissioner to clarify the precise basis for his discipline of Mr. Hargrove who, among other things, was found to have lied to the league’s investigators and obstructed their investigation.”

So, basically, Goodell will send another letter to Hargrove explaining that he was disciplined for lying to investigators and obstructing their investigation, or the NFL will make that contention clear in the appeals process.  Then, Hargrove will have no basis to claim that Burbank’s authority overcomes Goodell’s.

6 responses to “Burbank retains jurisdiction as to Hargrove

  1. At least we all know what really happened now. The Saints had a pay-for-performance program. The same type of program that all other teams have and have even admitted to. But the Saints werent punished solely on that fact alone. They were punished so severely because of intentionally trying to injure opponents. We know that Goodell’s evidence of pay-for-performance is strong. But we also know that his evidence for Saints intentionally trying to injure opponents is weak. Its weaker than weak. Its laughable. Therefore we can all agree that the punishments do not fit the crime. Donte Stallworth killed somebody and got 1 year suspension. Vilma paid somebody for an interception and got a 1 year suspension. What a joke.

  2. saintsfan26:

    We know that the Saints admitted to the bounty program. Not just a pay for play, but the bounty program when they took responsibility for their actions.

    The harshness of the penalties are not only based on the actions but the fact that there was a cover-up.

    At this point I would suggest that they stop complaining and just take the punishment, if for no other reason then it looks like they will lose more in the legal fight than they would’ve made for the time they were suspended.

    Regarding Stallworth, I think that Goodell took in to account the other penalties that he had such as jail, fines, and payouts to the family. Are bounties equal to a death no, however compounded will sooner or later add up to the same amount of time.

  3. bigjdve says:Jun 4, 2012 10:25 AM

    How come the players aren’t suing De Smith?

    He is the reason that nobody can touch Goodell.


    It’s almost like Goodell had this in his sights while negotiating the CBA (perhaps why he sat on this for several years before taking action). Had he gone through with a railroad job like this before the CBA, there’s no way the NFLPA would have allowed him the power he has now.

  4. What we also now know it the reason Goodell didn’t punish the 22-27 players is he knew the appeal would fall out of his jurisdiction.

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