Second Arbitrator Upholds NFL Position on Discipline in Bounty Case

Arbitrator Shyam Das today upheld the authority of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to impose discipline on current and former New Orleans Saints players for their role in the pay-for-performance/bounty program that operated during the 2009 through 2011 seasons. This was the second decision by an arbitrator this week rejecting NFLPA challenges to such discipline.

After Commissioner Goodell suspended four players for their involvement in the bounty program, the NFL Players Association filed a grievance claiming that the NFL had waived any right to impose discipline on players for conduct occurring prior to August 4, 2011 when the Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed. After reviewing the relevant language of the CBA, Arbitrator Das dismissed the NFLPA’s grievance, holding that the provision waiver relied upon by the union “does not . . . constitute an agreement by the NFL that the Commissioner relinquishes authority to impose discipline for conduct detrimental occurring prior to the execution of the CBA on August 4, 2011.”

Each of the players disciplined has filed an appeal, which will now be heard by Commissioner Goodell under the procedures set forth in the CBA.

To read the arbitrator’s complete decision, click here

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