NEW YORK — An arbitrator ruled Friday for the National Football League in dismissing a grievance by the NFL Players Association over punishments in the New Orleans Saints bounty case, the league said.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello announced the decision by arbitrator Shyam Das, which upholds bans imposed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell against players involved in the pay-to-injure scheme run by some of the Saints’ coaches.
The players union had argued Goodell lacked the authority to impose punishments for player conduct that took place before the current collective bargaining agreement between owners and players was signed last August.
The union also argued that since the bounties were payments for on-field actions, arbitrators Ted Cottrell or Art Shell should rule upon appeals, not Goodell.
Another arbitrator ruled against the union in favor of Goodell’s power to punish Monday.
The NFL suspended linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 16-game season in 2012, lineman Anthony Hargrove for eight games, defensive end Will Smith for four games and linebacker Scott Fujita for three games.
Goodell also banned Saints coach Sean Payton for the entire 2012 season.
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, the instigator of the pay-for-injury plan that ran from 2009 through 2011, has apologized for what he called a “terrible mistake”.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis was suspended for eight games and assistant coach Joe Vitt was suspended for six games. — AP