Panel hears NFLPA bounty appeal, no ruling yet

A three-member panel has finished hearing an NFL Players

Association appeal challenging Commissioner Roger Goodell’s

authority over four players punished in the league’s bounty

investigation of the New Orleans Saints.

The panel consists of retired federal Judge Fern Smith of San

Francisco, retired federal Judge Richard Howell of New York, and

Georgetown professor James Oldham. The players union wants the

panel to overturn a ruling by NFL system arbitrator Stephen

Burbank, who concluded that Goodell had the authority to hear and

rule on the players’ appeals of their suspensions.

NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who argued before the panel

Thursday, says Burbank’s ruling was flawed and that Goodell

overstepped his authority. Attorney Gregg Levy offered counter

arguments for the NFL.

Panel members say they’ll try to issue an opinion next week.