NEW YORK -- LaVar Arrington showed up in court to support his agent, who is challenging a two-year suspension over the handling of the linebacker's contract extension with the Washington Redskins in 2003.
Arrington appeared Thursday before U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones in Manhattan to support Carl Poston, who claims he was unfairly disciplined by an NFL Players' Association committee during the union's meetings last month.
The dispute centers around a $6.5 million bonus that Arrington claimed was left out of his contract by the Redskins.
Jones didn't immediately rule.
Arrington signed a $49 million, seven-year deal Saturday with the Giants. The deal came just days before a May 4 arbitration hearing in which Poston's suspension could be ordered to take effect.
Arrington didn't speak at the hearing but his lawyer, H. Stephen Brown, said the football player "cares a lot about this proceeding."
At one point, the judge acknowledged Arrington's presence, saying: "I see him here today and I recognize that he's very loyal
to Mr. Poston."
Poston's lawyer, Paul Aloe, said during the hearing that the players' union was determined to "take away his livelihood for two years" by subjecting him to an arbitrator who has never ruled completely against the union.
Aloe said it was surprising and unusual that the players' union was pursuing its claims in arbitration proceedings.
"LaVar Arrington does not at all agree, is very supportive of Mr. Poston, does not believe there was any concealment or anything
wrongfully done and, in fact, supports him," Aloe told the judge.
Jeffrey Kessler, a lawyer for the players' union, argued that regulations require agents to follow arbitration procedures outlined in the union's collective bargaining contract. Those provisions, Kessler said, make clear that the union has the
authority to choose the arbitrator and that the arbitrator must
resolve any and all disputes.
"He has no standing to do this," Kessler said of Poston's
lawsuit and insistence that an impartial arbitrator be assigned to
Arrington, the third overall pick in the 2000 draft and a three-time Pro Bowler, bought his way out of Washington in March
for $4.4 million after a tempestuous final two seasons in which he
suffered from knee injuries and was benched by defensive
coordinator Gregg Williams for freelancing.