PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An arbitrator has met with the NFL and the players' union in a dispute over Commissioner Roger Goodell's authority to punish players in the New Orleans Saints bounties scandal.
The NFL Players Association has challenged Goodell's power to impose penalties for what the league says was a three-year bounties program that targeted specific players.
The union has asked arbitrator Stephen Burbank of the University of Pennsylvania to decide if the players should be punished for the system. It also has asked that Burbank, not Goodell, hear appeals by the four players: current Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, suspended for the 2012 season, and defensive end Will Smith (four games); Green Bay DE Anthony Hargrove (eight games); and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita (three games).
Fujita attended the hearing.