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NFLPA appeal hearing on Roger Goodell's 'bounty' ruling ends

NEW YORK -- A three-member panel has finished hearing an NFL Players Association appeal challenging Commissioner Roger Goodell's authority over four players punished following the league's investigation of the New Olreans Saints' "bounty" scandal.

The panel consists of retired federal Judge Fern Smith of San Francisco, retired federal Judge Richard Howell of New York, and Georgetown professor James Oldham. The players union wants the panel to overturn a ruling by NFL system arbitrator Stephen Burbank, who concluded that Goodell had the authority to hear and rule on the players' appeals of their suspensions.

NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who argued before the panel Thursday, said Burbank's ruling was flawed and that Goodell overstepped his authority. Attorney Gregg Levy offered counter arguments for the NFL.

Panel members said they'll try to issue an opinion next week.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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