NEW YORK – The NFL Players Association has filed a grievance with the NFL that challenges Commissioner Roger Goodell's authority to suspend four current and former New Orleans players who took part in the Saints' bounty program from 2009-11.
The complaint claims that conduct before the new collective bargaining agreement was signed last August is not subject to discipline by the NFL. It says only a CBA system arbitrator, not Goodell, should be able to punish players under such circumstances.
On Tuesday, Goodell suspended linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season; defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove, now with Green Bay, for eight games; defensive end Will Smith, for four games; and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns, for three games.
The union filed its grievance Thursday night.