[Editor’s note: The NFL Players Association initially responded to news of the Saints’ three-year bounty system by vowing to study the NFL’s report. The NFLPA issued a more detailed statement on Wednesday. The full text appears below.]
The NFLPA negotiated vigorously to protect our players from coercive actions that compromise health and safety. The current CBA contains detailed rules on what clubs and coaches can and cannot do in terms of practice schedules and places limitations on the amount of contact. These rules include how clubs and coaches can be punished for violations of those safeguards. The statements made by New Orleans Saints management and coaches confirm that they engaged in improper and coercive activities.
We will vigorously protect the rights of all players. Until the facts are known, judgment based on reports in the media is speculative. That is why the NFLPA is undertaking a comprehensive review of the circumstances surrounding these reported violations of League rules. As part of this review, the NFLPA has requested that the NFL help facilitate interviews with members of New Orleans Saints management and coaching staff that were employed by the club in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
We recognize that this investigation was conducted over the course of many months. Accordingly, we have requested that the NFL provide us with sufficient time to complete our internal review as counsel to the players.
If the facts prove that players voluntarily and willingly participated in conduct that jeopardized health and safety, we will work with them and the league to put in place additional safeguards to prevent this in the future.
Dangerous play and acts on the field by players intended to injure have no place in football. We must do better to ensure that this activity is not a part of our game.