The NFL Players Association has filed a lawsuit on behalf of three players who were suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell following an investigation into the New Orleans Saints bounty program.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita claims that Roger Goodell violated the league’s labor agreement by determining the players’ “guilt” before even serving as an arbitrator at their hearing.
Firing back at the NFLPA the league’s officials said it was an “improper attempt to litigate” and there was “no basis for asking a federal court to put its judgment in place of the procedures agreed upon with the NFLPA in collective bargaining.”
According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in an email to The Associated Press:
“These procedures have been in place, and have served the game and players well, for many decades.”
The lawsuit if successful would force the NFL to put aside the commissioners findings and instead seek out a new arbitrator to deal with the bounty program accusations.
In the meantime the fourth suspended player, Jonathan Vilma, is not involved in this lawsuit after filing his own case against both the NFL and Roger Goodell. Vilmas was suspended for an entire season, the longest period of any player.
The lawsuit claims the original arbitration was a “sham” in which no evidence was compiled to find them guilty of participating in the bounty program. Lawyers for the men go on to claim that “critical documents and witnesses” were withheld from all three players during the arbitration process.