SBD/September 5, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Bounty Judge Suggests NFLPA Counsel May Be Conflicted Due To Player Representation

The federal judge overseeing the Saints bounty litigation unexpectedly suggested this morning in a written order that the counsel for the NFLPA might be conflicted because it also represent three of the players the league suspended for allegedly participating in the bounty system. The principal outside counsel for the NFLPA is Jeffrey Kessler of Winston & Strawn. Judge Helen Berrigan also suggested there is acrimony among the counsel of the NFL and NFLPA that is affecting this case. “[I]t appears to the Court that there is longstanding acrimony among all of the attorneys representing all of the parties that predates these disputes and that the Court believes is contrary to the interests of all four players,” Berrigan wrote. She ordered the counsel for the NFLPA and the players to file by tomorrow at noon why they should not be disqualified, and for the NFL to reply by Sept. 7. The NFL was also instructed to file by noon tomorrow any objection it had to the NFLPA’s injunction request to halt the suspensions of Browns LB Scott Fujita, Saints DE Will Smith and Packers DE Anthony Hargrove. Saints LB Jonathan Vilma is represented by counsel not affiliated with the NFLPA.
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