NEW YORK (AP) — Arbitrator Shyam Das heard arguments Wednesday from NFL and players union lawyers on whether Commissioner Roger Goodell can discipline players for actions that occurred before the league's current labor agreement was signed last August.
The hearing, which stemmed from the NFL's bounty investigation of the New Orleans Saints, lasted more than two hours. Outside counsel Dan Nash argued the NFL's position and lawyer Jeff Kessler spoke for the NFL Players Association.
The union filed a grievance after Goodell suspended four current and former Saints players earlier this month in connection with the bounty probe. Former Saints Anthony Hargrove, who was suspended eight games, and Scott Fujita, who was suspended for three, attended Wednesday's grievance hearing. Also suspended were current Saints Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season and Will Smith for four games.
Wednesday's hearing dealt with whether an agreement between the union and the league as part of last summer's labor negotiations precluded the NFL from punishing the Saints players in this case.
Das did not say when he would rule.
All four players have appealed their punishments.
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