The players union is scheduled to have its grievance against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell heard Wednesday, with the NFLPA questioning the league's authority to punish players for participating in an alleged bounty program with the Saints.
Goodell suspended linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season and punished defensive end Will Smith, defensive end Anthony Hargrove and linebacker Scott Fujita without providing "credible evidence" that any of the players participated according to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and president Domonique Foxworth.
Players are opposing the suspension based on language in the collective bargaining agreement finalized last August which states player conduct violations pre-dating the ratification of the existing CBA are beyond league jurisdiction. Furthermore, players' on-field transgressions are to be subject to review by Art Shell and Ted Cottrell, the top officers responsible for reviews, fines and appeals for on-field conduct during the season.
Fujita and Hargrove are no longer in New Orleans. Fujita signed with the Cleveland Browns as a free agent prior to the start of the 2010 season and Hargrove signed a one-year deal with no signing bonus to join the Packers in March.