Arbitrator rules against Browns' Fujita

The chances of Browns linebacker Scott Fujita winning an appeal of his three-game suspension and clearing his name took a hit Monday.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had the authority to discipline Fujita and three other players for their part in the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal.

The NFL Players Association immediately issued a release saying it will appeal Burbank’s decision: "Any pay-to-injure program runs counter to the health and safety principles we stand for as players. However, none of the players punished in this case have seen a shred of evidence justifying the NFL's punishment."

The union also filed a grievance with another arbitrator, who has yet to rule on the matter. Fujita will formally file his appeal once the NFLPA's grievances are resolved.

In other words, there is still a long way to go before the entire process is complete. The players won't begin their suspensions until their appeals have been heard. If this situation isn't finalized by the start of the season, Fujita would play in the Sept. 9 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.