Friday’s comments from NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who criticized the NFL’s failure to share information regarding the Saints’ bounty investigation, coupled with reports of the league’s response created the impression that the league previously hadn’t shown a willingness to give the union anything more than a pair of confidential reports.
A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that, in reality, the NFLPA has had an open invitation to review additional information at the league offices in Manhattan since March 2, the day the NFL disclosed the existence of the bounty system.
Likewise, we’re told that a letter was sent by the league to the NFLPA on Friday, reminding the union of the information it has received and reiterating the willingness to share more information at the league office. The letter also pointed out that the Commissioner has requested the union’s position regarding the situation on numerous occasions, but that the NFL has heard nothing in response.
The letter again invites the NFLPA to provide any thoughts or recommendations.
The union possibly has deferred comment on the situation until it has a chance to obtain more information. The NFLPA is in a tight situation on this one, balancing its obligation to protect both the alleged participants in the bounty system and the targets of the bounty system. It’s possible that the union will eventually contend that the players who participated were coerced by their coaches, making both the player-participants and the player-targets the victims.
Frankly, any other argument would make it hard for the NFLPA to aggressively and properly represent the interests of both ends of the bounty spectrum.