New York, NY (Sports Network) - An arbitrator has ruled in favor of the NFL in the bounty grievance filed by the NFL Players Association.
According to NFL.com, special master Stephen Burbank said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had the authority to suspend four players for their roles in the New Orleans Saints' bounty system.
Goodell suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the 2012 season, current Green Bay defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove for eight games, Saints defensive end Will Smith for four games and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland, for three games.
All four players have appealed the suspensions.
The grievance filed by the NFLPA had claimed that conduct prior to the new collective bargaining agreement, reached last August, was not subject to league discipline.
Another NFLPA grievance, filed with a different arbitrator, seeks the player appeals to be heard by someone other than Goodell. The NFLPA said Ted Cotrell and Art Shell should be part of the process because the two are appointed by the league and union to review appeals for on-field conduct.
The Sports Network