- Associated Press - Thursday, July 5, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The NFL Players Association has filed a lawsuit against the NFL on behalf of three players suspended in connection with the league’s bounty investigation.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in New Orleans on Thursday. It says NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell violated the collective bargaining agreement by showing publicly he had determined Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita had participated in a bounty system even before serving as an arbitrator at their hearing.

The lawsuit asks a judge to set aside earlier arbitration rulings and order a new arbitrator to preside over the matter. The suit comes two days after Goodell denied appeals by four players. The other player, Jonathan Vilma, has sued the NFL and Goodell separately.

Vilma is suspended for a season, Hargrove for eight games, Smith four and Fujita three.

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