NFLPA seeks TRO for Fujita, Smith, Hargrove


When the NFLPA filed suit on behalf of Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, Saints defensive end Will Smith, and former Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, the NFLPA specifically chose not to seek an order lifting their bounty suspensions pending a final decision.  The NFLPA opted not to pursue that type of relief because the NFLPA believed a final decision would come before the first game of the regular season.

A final decision has yet to be issued, and so the NFLPA decided to try to force the issue on Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, the union has asked Judge Helen G. Berrigan to lift the suspensions pending the outcome of the litigation, so that the players can return to their teams and participate in the first game of the regular season, and beyond.  Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma made a similar request immediately after the NFL upheld his full-season suspension.

It was believed a ruling of some sort would come from Judge Berrigan on Tuesday.  Now, with a decision coming on Wednesday at the earliest, the players are guaranteed to miss the first full day of practice in advance of the Sunday games.

Look for Judge Berrigan to do something on Wednesday.  And if she lifts the suspensions, look for the NFL to have little or no chance to overturn her ruling by Sunday.

27 responses to “NFLPA seeks TRO for Fujita, Smith, Hargrove

  1. Shouldn’t the dispute resolution process contemplated under CBA Article 15 first be allowed to run its course BEFORE Judge Berrigan issues any ruling (whether on the player suspensions, or this latest TRO application)? Why not let the three-member Appeals Panel (which, if I recall correctly, includes two retired federal judges) first rule on the central question of whether Goodell or System Arbitrator Burbank has jurisdiction over the accused players in this matter. After all, isn’t the Appeals Panel expected to rule by week’s end? Can a finding of “irreparable harm” in support of the TRO application be justified if none of the accused players will miss a regular season game before then?

  2. Liberal, activist judges. Stay out of this game! Its time for these folks to accept their punishment. We all know they did it.

  3. A TRO would seem to be more appropriate for the league, rather than the union. It is the league’s ability to conduct its’ business and discipline procedures that is at more risk of irreparable harm than a few players missing some paychecks. The players problems can be easily solved with money. Destroying the integrity of the CBA and the league’s ability to control and enforce the rules of fair play is an issue that is cannot be cured so easily.

  4. Tomorrow Judge Berrigan will do the moral, ethical, and legal thing and lift the suspensions that should never have been leveled to begin with.

    Goodell manipulated the simple minded fans and media with leaks of inaccurate, misleading, and fudged “evidence”.
    There was no 20,000 pages of “evidence”.
    There was no admissions of “bounties” by ANY coaches or players.
    There was no proof of payments or offers of payments.
    There was no accurate ledger entries.
    There was no proof offered up as evidence so that players could challenge and disprove.

    Goodell said there was “bounties” so the handpicked puppets in the media ran with the gossip.
    There was a Reward For Performance Plan.
    Thats it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Berrigan should also rule that Vilma’s suit against the lying hypocrit can move forward as well. I sooooooooo wish that Goodell gets smacked down hard for ruining ruining the reputations of the players and coaches. (Vitt is the only one with cahoonas big enough, to back the players and call out Goodell)
    When it’s prooved that Goodell went after the team for his own agenda I hope Mr. Benson sues him as well, and also gets a majority of owners to oust him.

  5. It does seem that an excessive amount of suspensions handed out by the NFL get fought and dragged out to the point that the suspensions aren’t served until the following season (star caps, arrests, etc.). So given the magnitude of these allegations, why not at least delay the suspensions until a much more thorough investigation has taken place. If the NFL has as strong a case as they claim they do then they should have no problem allowing everyone to have their day in court. If and when the players are proven guilty, they will serve their original suspensions at that point. What’s the rush?

  6. It is sad that this situation has come down to this. At no level of any labor or legal issue should any of US have to be subjected to a penalty without the burden of proof of charges…..
    The arbitrary method in which R. Goodell has handled this issue of the suspensions is wrong and should be viewed as wrong by any reasonable person.
    Please let others see the wrong and make it right!

  7. richeisennflnetwork says: Sep 4, 2012 11:47 PM

    Liberal, activist judges. Stay out of this game! Its time for these folks to accept their punishment. We all know they did it.

    Yeah, stupid judges! They’re too worried about things like “due process” and “facts” when all of us not privy to the details are REALLY SURE these guys did it!

  8. kattykathy:

    You should really pay more attention.

    1. Berrigan may or may not rule. However if she does it would be very unethical as she would be overstepping her authority by inserting herself into an issue that is dealt with a CBA.

    2. The NFL is not a court of law. Goodell said he had evidence that made him think that there was bounties. Whether we believe it to be or not is irrelevant as he is the judge in the case. That is like saying OJ was guilty, most of us know he was, however the jury found him not guilty. So no matter what we think, he was found not guilty. Meaning that in Goodell’s eyes there were guilty. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. People seem to forget that. The players didn’t want to defend themselves, that is on them.

    3. Berrigan agreed with Goodell that a Pay for Play system could be considered bounties. Therefore your That’s It comment is a little off-base.

    4. Berrigan is stuck in a hard spot, because Goodell believed(s) that he is dealing with bounties, thus talking about Vilma isn’t defamation because it was in the course of his duties that he was talking about him, that is by her words. She may disagree with Goodell but that isn’t the point. Intention is everything.

    I think it could’ve been handled better, however after the all of the Saint’s were caught lying Goodell had them dead to rights. That is correct, initially if you remember the defense were all talking about how they weren’t part of any reward plan. Then oops, yes they were only part of a pay for play plan. Goodell has always hammered people that have lied or tried to hide something from him. Compare Vick and Burress to Stallworth. He could’ve nailed the entire defense but decided on 4 players.

    I hope the suspensions stand because they lied with what they were doing. That is where the example needs to be set. The other williams teams came right out and said what they were doing and got a pass. With all of the stupid concussion lawsuits something needed to be done.

    It really does suck for Saint’s fans, because they have been really loyal for alot of years. Too bad it couldn’t happen to a nicer team like the Giants or Eagles.

  9. oh no!!! Goodell was lied to!!!!!

    Oh my goodness, that means that his holiness can ban the players from the league forever. Off with their heads!!!!!
    How dare those scumbags to be less than completely and totally honest to his majesty.
    Of course, now I understand that no judge, and no courts should be able to hear the players cases. The highest and most superior “judge” in the land has been lied to, and he…..and he alone…..has full and final power to levy sentences and verdicts.

    The Honorable Judge Goodell has ruled that players “lied” to him, so the sentence is GUILTY.

    Guilty! And no court in the land shall even think about due process, or legalities, or civil rights, or defamation, or discrimination.

    For Goodell is the almighty.

  10. Here’s a thought. Let them play until a review of the guilt or innocence of the players is reviewed by the judge. Then if they’re found guilt still, they get life suspensions for making a mockery of this. If they’re innocent there’s no issue right?

  11. Judge Berrigan seems to be letting her feelings in favor of the Saints cloud her legal judgment. Her statement about looking for a reason to rule in favor of Vilma is reason enough for the NFL to appeal any ruling that limits the authority granted to the league under the collective bargaining agreement. This mess has been made worse by a seemingly biased and incompetent judge.

    It doesn’t matte if you are a Saints fan or have another point of view. This judge has made a bad situation worse and more muddled. I wish the league had demonstrated more restraint initially and limited the punishment to coaches and executives. They overreached by going after the players.

  12. “…..Where is the justice for the NFL? The union always gets its way in the courts, one must wonder why that is….”
    The Union gets its way because that since the NFL is a national organization. They can search all over the Country to find a couple of extreme anti-business Judges that will do what they want. Judge Dodd in Minnesota was a good example.
    However, the Appeals Court is usually not that way.
    When a ruling comes down from Berrigan against the NFL, the NFL will immediately appeal and win, but it will take time and money.
    As usual, lawyers eventually get the money from everyone.

  13. kattykathy says:

    “Goodell manipulated the simple minded fans and media with leaks of inaccurate, misleading, and fudged “evidence”.”

    Thanks for calling me (and the majority of us) “simple minded”. You don’t know me or the others that disagree with you, but you think that because we disagree with you that we’re simple minded?

    As bigjdve said so eloquently in his post above – it appears that you choose to ignore the truth based only upon your allegiance to the Saints.

    In particular – read #3 above. Judge Berrigan has clearly stated that what you refer to (and admit to) as a “Reward For Performance Plan” is, in fact, a bounty program by her definition.

    So, now that by your own words, the Saints were guilty of a bounty program, which one of us is “simple minded”?

    It appears to any reasonably intelligent person that the ” inaccurate, misleading, and fudged evidence” is all coming from those like you that want the suspensions overturned.

  14. gtodriver says:
    It appears to any reasonably intelligent person that the ” inaccurate, misleading, and fudged evidence” is all coming from those like you that want the suspensions overturned.
    No, actually most people now agree that GODell tainted the initial investigation with ” inaccurate, misleading, and fudged evidence” but it may not matter because he got away with abusing his authority as a commish which is ‘covered’ by the CBA. So you are in the minority, gtodriver!!!!!

  15. bigjdve, You should probably think a little more for yourself as well, as opposed to parroting non-Saints fans misguided, ignorant comments on the situation.

    1. If Berrigan rules, it’s because she feels that she is in a legal position to do so. Nothing at all unethical about it. She cannot be overstepping her authority when the rules of the CBA have been broken.

    2. The nfl* is still subject to courts of law, CBA or not. Simply because you have an agreement with another party does not somehow magically make you immune to legal action. Judging by your comments, I suspect you believe that Roger Goodell should be able to do whatever he wants to anyone in the nfl* regardless of whether it’s right, or legal, simply because he is part of a CBA?

    3. Berrigan also stated that if she could find a way to rule on this, that she would rule in favor of the players. So your argument is fairly invalid.

    4. The only ‘hard spot’ in this is on Goodell. He and his team quite literally stretched the limits of their imaginations to come up with the charges they did, and everything that has come out since has supported the players, even the nfl*’s own presented ‘evidence’. I’m also not sure from where you pulled the “after all of the Saints were caught lying” idea from, since Goodell and his team have been the only ones thus far caught lying.
    I recall the defense all saying they were not part of a ‘pay to injure/bounty’ program that Goodell initially accused them of, but instead had a league-wide used pay for performance system in place. Then oops, Goodell changed his accusation to say “pay for performance/bounty” program.

    I hope all the suspensions are overturned and Goodell is forced to publicly apologize for lying to the players, the fans and attempting to manipulate a Federal Judge with his false accusations.

  16. @sb44champs*

    I might be in the minority of the posters on this thread.

    But I’m in the majority of the fans of the NFL.

    Saints fans post on these threads a lot – because they are so frustrated and they can’t deal with the truth.

    As posted above – the biggest “inaccurate, misleading and fudged evidence” is the claim that it was simply a “pay for performance” program.

    Well, Judge Berrigan has clearly stated that a “pay for performance” program constitutes a bounty program.

    Goodell has the Saints dead to rights on a bounty program because they openly admit to a “pay for performance” program now. But of course, they claimed that didn’t exist when originally asked about it.

    They lied to the NFL. They admit to a bounty program as defined by Berrigan.

    Time to end this debacle and accept the punishment.

  17. Berrigan saying that she agreed with the players, and that she is trying to find a reason to rule in their favor shows a couple things.

    1. That she like most people think that the system in place by the CBA is a little off.

    2. That she is trying to find a legitimate reason to rule in their favor, also shows that despite her personal view she is trying to stay within the confines of the law.

    This actually helps me have a little more faith in the justice system. This judge is clearly trying to get past her personal feelings for the law. That is a good thing.

    Make no mistake, any judge has a feeling for what they think before going into court and making a decision. They have already read all of the reports filed along with motions.

    I will be the first to admit, I question the logic of a single person being judge for both the penalty and appeal. However don’t kid yourself, even if there were more people involved, the players would still complain anytime anything didn’t go in their favor. Just look at any case they have lost in the actual courtroom.

  18. acetw: I am not parroting anything.

    I actually read and listen. My post is based on what I have found.

    I understand that Goodell is subject to law, however I also know that he actually hasn’t broken any laws for which a court would have any valid reason for interceding with.

    The system the CBA has in place is flawed but it was agreed upon. And it was viewed by lawyers from both sides, meaning that both sides checked to make sure that it was legally valid. Meaning that with that system as flawed as it may be, it is within the law for him to do what he did.

    I think he could’ve should’ve handled it better, however the same can be said of the players.

    Regarding the players being caught lying, try actually doing some research.

    The players first stated that they weren’t part of any type of reward program. Then they came back and stated that they were part of a pay for play program. Thus they lied. That is the papers, in statements, audio, and video. So this isn’t about Goodell, that is about the players.

    We don’t have realistic proof that Goodell lied. We have evidence that he perceived to be for something. Now obviously it looks that he stretched reality, however it doesn’t matter what we think about the evidence, it matters what he perceived as to whether it was valid or not. That is the same in any court. We may or may not agree with the evidence, however it comes down to what the judge or jury think.

    That being stated since the players didn’t want to take a real part in either hearing, they didn’t do anything to change perception. So they got suspended and their appeals got denied.

    This is the disciplinary system agreed upon by both sides and approved by the flesheating lawyers for both sides.

    It is what it is.

  19. The players hating the power they themselves agreed to give goodell… its irony on a base level, but i love it.

  20. If the NFL had never lied about any of its evidence (which it clearly did) this would have never gotten this far. Be realistic, do you honestly think anyone could level charges/punishments this devistating, without any real evidence (whether you think it happened or not) and not expect those being charged not to fight back as much as possible? Assume the Saints are as guilty as Goodell says, but he has no proof. Did you or him really expect these players not to fight back? He started a gun fight without even a knife in his hand. Guilty or not, Goodell is who allowed this to get this far.

  21. GTOdriver says:
    Saints fans post on these threads a lot – because they are so frustrated and they can’t deal with the truth.
    Is that why you got mostly ‘Thumbs Down’?? Sounds like YOU can’t deal with the judge ruling in the Saints favor!!!!

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