NFL responds to Vilma, NFLPA lawsuits

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 17, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell watches teams warm up prior to the start of Super Bowl XLIV between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The NFL is again urging a federal judge to avoid interfering in Commissioner Roger Goodell's efforts to discipline four players for the Saints' cash-for-hits bounty pool. In a response Wednesday to papers the players filed earlier this week, the NFL says its labor agreement gives Goodell the power to handle discipline involving conduct detrimental to football ''at his discretion.'' U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan is considering the players' request to overturn varying suspensions to Saints linebacker Jon Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and Cleveland linebacker Scott Fujita. The players have argued Goodell's public comments prove he cannot be impartial, but the NFL says when ''all of the circumstances'' are considered, no one can conclude Goodell's rulings resulted only from bias against the players.
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