Earlier today, the NFLPA filed a grievance against Roger Goodell and the NFL regarding the suspensions of four players involved in the Bountygate scandal. The grievance states that owing to the new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) which was reached last year, the NFL does not have the authority to punish players for any conduct which may have happened prior to August 4th, 2011.
The grievance also states that only the CBA System Arbitrator, Stephen Burbank, possesses the authority to punish players for non-contract payments – such as the $10,000 bounty that Jonathan Vilma allegedly placed on Kurt Warner and Brett Favre, for example. Furthermore, the grievance claims that a two-person panel, namely Art Shell and Ted Cottrell, should handle appeals for punishments for, “conduct on the playing field with respect to an opposing player or players.”
I said yesterday that this situation had the potential to turn into a giant mess, and it appears that said mess is well on its way to coming to fruition. This is the type of legal wrangling that could stretch on for months, if not years. The courtroom challenges in the Starcaps case, for instance, lasted over twenty months before the suspension of any NFL player was actually realized.