The NFL released a statement on arbitrator Shyam Das' decision Friday to uphold commissioner Roger Goodell's right to hand out punishment in the New Orleans Saints bounty case. The NFL explained Das' decision, saying that the new collective bargaining agreement that went into affect on August 4, 2011, did not waive the Goodell's right to impose discipline for anything that happened under the old CBA.
After Commissioner Goodell suspended four players for their involvement in the bounty program, the NFL Players Association filed a grievance claiming that the NFL had waived any right to impose discipline on players for conduct occurring prior to August 4, 2011 when the Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed. After reviewing the relevant language of the CBA, Arbitrator Das dismissed the NFLPA's grievance, holding that the provision waiver relied upon by the union "does not . . . constitute an agreement by the NFL that the Commissioner relinquishes authority to impose discipline for conduct detrimental occurring prior to the execution of the CBA on August 4, 2011."
The NFL Players' Association filed a grievance to look into not only whether Goodell had any authority in the matter, but also whether the appeals of the four suspended Saints players could be heard by someone other than the commissioner himself. After Friday's ruling, the players will have to appeal in front of Goodell.