NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09: Anthony Hargrove #69 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with fans in the stands after the Saints won 14-9 against the Minnesota Vikings at Louisiana Superdome on September 9 2010 in New Orleans Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove is appealing his eight-game suspension, and he might have good reason to. The defensive end received a longer suspension than former New Orleans Saints teammates Scott Fujita and Will Smith because he lied to NFL investigators about Saints' bounty program, but his appeal seems reasonable for a couple of reasons.
First of all, Roger Goodell technically does not have the power to punish players for actions committed before August under the new CBA. The NFL Players Association believes that an arbitrator, not the commissioner, should have decided the suspensions for the Saints' players who participated in the bounty program.
That's Fujita and Smith's only reason for appealing, but Hargrove has another. As we noted when the suspension was handed down, Hargrove claims that the Saints asked him to lie to NFL investigators about the bounty program. Yahoo! Sports has obtained Hargrove's declaration to the league, in which he provides an account of a specific meeting with Joe Vitt and Gregg Williams, where they asked him to lie about the bounty program.
The NFLPA might have a legitimate gripe about Goodell suspending players for actions prior to the new CBA's ratification, and if their appeal is successful, an arbitrator might take Hargrove's declaration into consideration when reconsidering suspensions. This is far from over.