The NFL Players Association pleaded its case in front of arbitrator Stephen Burbank on Wednesday in Philadelphia. At issue was the matter of who has the authority to punish the players implicated in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. A decision is expected within a week.
Suspensions for Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma were handed out by Roger Goodell under the auspices of player conduct. The NFLPA argued in front of the arbitrator that the payments involved in the bounty program constitute non-contract payments, which makes it a salary cap matter and therefore subject to Burbank's authority.
Goodell's authority has been a key subtext throughout the bounty scandal, as well as other skirmishes between the union and the league.
Wednesday's hearing lasted roughly 90 minutes. The NFLPA was represented by Jeffrey Kessler. Gregg Levy spoke for the NFL.