NFL responds to Vilma, players union

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 17, 2012

NEW YORK - APRIL 22: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is interviewed by Darrelle Revis of the New York Jets for the 'Ocho Cinco New Network' on the red carpet during the 2010 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/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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