Bounties: NFLPA Loses in Arbitration, but Hargrove Suspension Questioned

DE Anthony Hargrove is no closer to a decision on his suspension. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Earlier today, the NFL got the ruling it sought in independent arbitration against the NFLPA in the New Orleans Saints bounty case. As the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports, arbitrator Stephen Burbank decided that the NFL is within its rights to discipline players for the Saints' bounty program. Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Scott Fujita will still be suspended, pending their individual appeals.

But what about Packers' defensive end Anthony Hargrove, you ask? That's a bit more complicated. From the Press-Gazette:

Burbank did, however, retain temporary jurisdiction on Hargrove’s role and asked Goodell for more information on Hargrove’s "alleged participation."

It seems that because of Hargrove's unique situation, he is being treated differently than the other players. Remember that Hargrove's statement last month alleges that he was told to deny the existence of any bounty program by then-Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and assistant Joe Vitt. This would put him in a difficult position by his former coaches, and he claims he was essentially forced to lie to the league to keep his job. Mr. Burbank seems to think that the situation is unique enough to review further and that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell needs to further justify why Hargrove was suspended for eight games.

As for the Packers, they will continue through OTAs and probably through minicamp with no more idea of whether Hargrove will be suspended or not than they did before the decision. It looks more plausible that his 8-game ban may be overturned, but the team will still have a difficult time working Hargrove into practice with his fate undecided.

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