Arbitrator rules that Goodell can punish Hargrove

© AP Images
© AP Images

New York, NY - An arbitrator ruled Monday that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to discipline former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove for the bounty program.

University of Pennsylvania professor Stephen Burbank reserved judgment last week on  Hargrove's case until the NFL provided more information why the player, now with Green Bay, was suspended for eight games.

But Burbank now has ruled that he has no jurisdiction over Hargrove, either.  He cites a letter from the NFL that attributes "the vast majority of (Hargrove's)  eight-game suspension to lying ... and obstruction."  The balance of evidence pertains to his "active participation in the program by pledging and contributing money to the pool."

Hargrove, Saints LB Jonathan Vilma, DE Will Smith, and LB Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, appealed their suspensions and will appear before Goodell next Monday.  Vilma also has sued Goodell for defamation in a U.S. District Court in New Orleans and Goodell has been given until July 5th to respond to the action.