Players Appeal Suspensions
The current and former New Orleans Saints players who were suspended for their roles in the “bounty scandal” have appealed. Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma all appealed the suspensions handed down by the NFL for their participation in the bounty scandal. Vilma was hit with the stiffest penalty of all the players. He was suspended for the entire season.
Players disagree vehemently with the suspensions saying they had not be given specifics as to the allegations made against them and have not seen evidence that supports anything the NFL alleged. The N.F.L. Players Association said the same thing in a grievance it filled last week protesting the player’s suspensions. One of the players, Anthony Hargrove no longer plays with the Saints, but is now with the Green Bay Packers.
Hargrove, in a sworn statement, described how he had been told by Gregg Williams, the former defensive coordinator of the Saints and Joe Vitt, an assistant coach, to deny there was any bounty program to the investigators of the NFL. The NFLPA submitted the video to the NFL league offices to underscore the NFLPA’s opinion that the bounty program blame should be place on just the coaches and executives of the team and not the players.
The grievance by the NFLPA also says the Roger Goodell the NFL Commissioner cannot punish players for a case that took place prior to the new collective bargaining agreement, which was signed back in August. The players associations says the NFL Commissioner, under the new collective bargaining agreement is not the person who handles such discipline matters.