Personal notes on Aug 10th hearing for New Orleans Saints Jonathan Vilma

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Berrigan states she does not believe RG had the authority to hear this matter under Article 14.  NFLPA states RG does not have the authority to suspend a player, only to fine him under Article 14.   Based on this, NFLPA argues Judge can rule to vacate suspensions because RG exceeded his CBA powers.

As for the players’ hearing itself, NFLPA contends industrial due process was ignored (1) players could not confront accusers (2) no exculpatory evidence allowed such as testimony by Vitt and players the $10,000 cash offer did not happen (3) not all documents provided [some were news stories after the suspensions were meted out] and (4) no review of management’s fault (Saints) to ameliorate the pay for performance program.  CBA does not provide for fundamental unfairness nor can it supersede decency.

The thrust of the NFLPA’s arguments are that Berrigan can rule and does not need to wait for Aug 30th hearing on Burbank matter.  She has de novo power and does not need to defer to RG.  She can appoint a new arbitrator to decide case.

NFL argues Berrigan must wait for Burbank appeals process before any ruling.  RG has been given authority under the CBA.  There are no standards RG must adhere to in providing evidence.  No procedures are inherent in the CBA, and NFLPA is now having second thoughts.

RG’s logic on Article 46 is sound.  And public statements do not indicate partiality.  RG was ready to decide on all at same time as coaches’ suspensions but NFLPA asked them for time to investigate.  NFL argues Berrigan does not have jurisdiction to which she replies Levy makes her sound helpless.

NLF argues players did not participate in appeals process.  Berrigan makes it clear she believes they did; and if they had argued their case before RG on appeal, they would have lost their jurisdictional grounds for vacating the suspensions.

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