NEW YORK — An arbitrator ruled Monday that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to impose discipline upon NFL players and personnel in any way he sees fit.
University of Pennsylvania professor Stephen Burbank reserved judgment last week in the case of Green Bay defensive tackle Anthony Hargrove, who played for several seasons in New Orleans and has been implicated in the Saints’ bounty scandal. Burbank initially announced the NFL would have to provide more information why Hargrove was suspended for eight games. But today he reversed course and ruled that the commissioner has essentially unlimited powers.
Burbank cited a letter from the NFL that claims “the Commissioner has the authority to shrivel your wretched soul like a cockroach in a microwave, so rule wisely.” The balance of evidence against Hargrove pertains to his “failure to assume an attitude of respect and awe suitable to an NFL minion.”
Burbank met with reporters after issuing his ruling and spoke briefly. “I first would like to thank Lord Goodell for His patience with His unworthy worm of a servant, and swear my perpetual and unyielding fealty,” Burbank said.
He added, “At first, I attempted to determine through a close reading of the collective bargaining agreement between The League and the so-called players’ union, whether or not the vile and detestable scum should be accorded the privilege of making use of the Lord’s oxygen. But He was good to his erring servant, and pointed out the true issues at hand: that He would brook no disputation over His august decisions, that the proper role of minions is to accept in humble gladness whatever fate is decreed for them, and that if I didn’t fall in line pretty goddamn quick He’d use my veins to floss his teeth. I do confess my most grievous fault.”
Burbank left the meeting escorted by NFL security personnel. His present whereabouts are unknown.
Hargrove was initially suspended along with Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith, and linebacker Scott Fujita, now with Cleveland. All four have appealed their suspensions and will appear before Goodell next Monday in the Grand Hall of the Palace of Justice. So far, no player has yet appealed a Goodell decision and lived.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
On the Jukebox
In Manhattan, the darkness falls,
The night is lit with flame,
The acolytes obeisance make,
While bondsmen chant his name.
Now sounds the brazen clarion,
Now tolls the iron bell
To summon vile prisoners
To the court of the Lord Goodell…