Seen by many as breakthrough in attempt to get back on the playing field
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/29/2012 -- Four New Orleans Saints players will meet with Roger Goodell on Tuesday. This will be the first time any of the four will meet with the NFL Commissioner since a three-person overturned their suspension handed down by the league.
"We have agreed to meet with all four players in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement," NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said in a statement. Jonathan Vilma was the first to accept a meeting after the committee ruling, while Scott Fujita, Will Smith, and Anthony Hargrove have since accepted.
The meetings are set to occur next week. The CBA panel, which overturned Goodell’s suspension efforts, requested that the Commissioner to reassess the infractions as the steps he previously took were outside his jurisdiction.
Vilma and Goodells were set to meet in late August, but could not come to terms as Vilma had already set in motion a pending defamation lawsuit against the league head. When asked of the next round of meetings, and the possibility of a similar outcome, said Vilma’s attorney “We expect that no obstacles will get in the way,” then adding, “We’re prepared to move ahead.”
Goodell initially divvied out punishment to the players for infringing on pay-for-play rule violations, which the CBA sent back to the commissioner. The NFL Players Association expect that if any further punishment is to be handed out, it will be done so through a third-party arbitrator.
The ruling comes as a bit of a shock to some, as Goodell’s power and control over such issues is now called into question. It is a pointed victory for the players union, and may set precedent for future rulings on similar matters.
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