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NFLPA accepts invitation to obtain more bounty information

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After a Friday back-and-forth that left the league office upset, to say the least, regarding the NFLPA’s position regarding the availability of information relating to the Saints’ bounty probe, the union has decided to accept the NFL’s offer to come to New York and obtain more information, according to Jim Trotter of SI.com.

Per the report, the NFLPA still may not recommend specific discipline, even if the union finds “concrete evidence” of player involvement.

That’s the right move, in our view.  It’s not for the union to advise the league on discipline, given that the union will later be representing the players during their appeals.  Indeed, merely making a recommendation could amount to a violation of the duty of fair representation that every union has to its members.

As to the appeal process, the question continues to be whether punishment will be meted out for on-field conduct or off-field behavior.  The former would be subject to review by Art Shell or Ted Cottrell (who upheld the two-game suspension of Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and the one-game suspension of Steelers linebacker James Harrison in 2011), the latter would be handled by the league office (which overturned a $10,000 fine imposed on Steelers safety Troy Polamalu for calling his wife from the sidelines during a game).

And while Trotter explains that “[t]he union has great concerns about the disciplinary powers of the commissioner’s office over issues such as the bounty scandal” and that “it has never made sense for cases to be appealed to the same person who handed out the initial punishment,” it’s critical to remember that the NFLPA reaffirmed these procedures when agreeing to the new, 10-year CBA in August 2011.

The current challenge for the NFLPA continues to be walking the tightrope between protecting the players who funded or received payments from the bounty fund and protecting those who were targeted by the bounty system.  For now, the prudent move will be to explore whether there’s a way to pin the full blame on the coaches, but only if the evidence supports the argument that the players who participated were coerced into doing so by their coaches — and if the players will be able to testify truthfully  and persuasively that the locker-room personality cult overcame their free will.

If not, the players need to do the right thing (and, from a P.R. perspective, the smart thing) and take their medicine.

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38 Responses to “NFLPA accepts invitation to obtain more bounty information”
  1. eagleswin says: Apr 1, 2012 11:20 AM

    Another reason for the Saints to be punished harshly.

    Neither the NFL, nor the NFLPA want to deal with the bounty issue. Neither of them would have to if the Saints hadn’t been so flagrant about it and ignored the attempts by the NFL to brush it under the rug.

  2. mylionsroaring says: Apr 1, 2012 11:22 AM

    Pretty sad this is today’s NFL. Back in the day you didn’t have to have bounties because they used to let them play football. Now with all the rules against the defense it has turned into pass ball, and push out of bounds.

  3. bucfaninil says: Apr 1, 2012 11:28 AM

    agree mylionsroaring… this much passing was not what the NFL was for…

  4. xtutx says: Apr 1, 2012 11:29 AM

    Back to the union saying they should have been more in-tune with what happened to the teams/coaches.

    You sir, do not represent teams and management. Know your role. The NFL has stepped back and awaits the NFLPA’s suggestion on suspensions for the people they do represent.

    Scratches head, why would the NFLPA expect to be invovled with management and above level issues? IMO long term they want to somehow end up owning the league.

    So NFLPA, what is your ruling with the players? Or is it ok for members to hurt other members purposely? Make sure you defend the right side. What webs we weave.

  5. jacks40 says: Apr 1, 2012 11:34 AM

    eagleswin says:
    Apr 1, 2012 11:20 AM
    Another reason for the Saints to be punished harshly.

    Neither the NFL, nor the NFLPA want to deal with the bounty issue. Neither of them would have to if the Saints hadn’t been so flagrant about it and ignored the attempts by the NFL to brush it under the rug.

     ———————————_____________

    So wait punish the Saints harshly bc the NFL & NFLPA can no longer brush a serious issue under the rug? That is stupid.

  6. cowboyhater says: Apr 1, 2012 11:37 AM

    Ok, once this investigaition is done, what’s next? The punishment to the Saints has sent that message, and further punishment to any organization in the past would be unjust. I only say this because of the unfair treatment the skins received for that rediculous cap penalty. Greg Williams was the def coordinator for skins in 2007! There is no one currently in this organization that is affiliated with Greg Williams, and to be penalized AGAIN would be extremely unfair. If that becomes the case, then I say Dan Snyder should go after the league for collusion, and expose the entire unlawful business practices in the NFL, even if it means hurting the game of football.

  7. rubbernilly says: Apr 1, 2012 11:46 AM

    Coercion is a farce, at least as it relates to those who took money from Williams.

    Whatever their conduct on the field, whatever their intent, they certainly were not coerced into accepting the payouts for such.

  8. jackntorres says: Apr 1, 2012 11:52 AM

    The current challenge for the NFLPA continues to be walking the tightrope between protecting the players who funded or received payments from the bounty fund and protecting those who were targeted by the bounty system.
    —-
    Bounty systems don’t injure football players. Football players injure football players.

    The NFLPA (or league office) isn’t involved when one player injures another on a legal hit without a shroud of payment, so why should it be involved when there is?

    Just remember there are 32 defensive coordinators in this league. I don’t think a single one tells their players, “Listen hit the QB, but don’t hit him so hard that he won’t come back in the game.”

    And I’m still waiting on Goodell to get back to Rachel Nichols about whether a QB giving his linemen Rolex watches constitutes pay-for-performance.

  9. jason1980 says: Apr 1, 2012 12:22 PM

    This whole process is a sham. The league is in a box, bit off more than it could chew, and now is scrabbling to make some stand that doesn’t appear to be caving. Every fan base wants an example to be made of their opponents, not them. Saints fans understand what’s going on here, and will beat the odds, AGAIN! This team and their fan base could be more united. A meaner, polarized Saints team is not to the advantage of the other 31 teams, trust me on this.

  10. profootballwalk says: Apr 1, 2012 12:40 PM

    Dear Saints Fans:

    Since this year will be a wash-out for your team, I recommend that you get out on your Louisiana roads with rubbish bags and pick up the trash you’ve thrown there. I’ve never seen such a filthy state as Louisiana. Everywhere you go, it looks like the top came off the rubbish truck and all the trash blew out. Seriously – Louisiana should have ‘The Litter State’ on their vehicle plates.

  11. beastup22 says: Apr 1, 2012 12:43 PM

    Where is the evidence and where are the injured players? I have yet to see any players carted off or any overtly dirty hits. The league has every tape from every game. So where are the illegal hits, that makes their intent to injure any different than any other defender?

  12. riverhorsey says: Apr 1, 2012 12:56 PM

    The union sometimes has to tell the players you can’t do that and this is one of those times.

  13. tommyf15 says: Apr 1, 2012 1:02 PM

    And while Trotter explains that “[t]he union has great concerns about the disciplinary powers of the commissioner’s office over issues such as the bounty scandal” and that “it has never made sense for cases to be appealed to the same person who handed out the initial punishment,” it’s critical to remember that the NFLPA reaffirmed these procedures when agreeing to the new, 10-year CBA in August 2011.

    As I’ve stated on this site and others, if I were running the union THERE WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN A SINGLE DOWN OF FOOTBALL PLAYED until Goodell’s powers were placed in check, and that the players at least had a means of appeal to a neutral third party.

    In fairness to the NFLPA, supposedly every other issue had been worked out except for this one, and when it came time to discuss it Goodell wouldn’t bend. Rather than extend the work stoppage and perhaps have it legally shifted from a lockout to a strike (which would have been disasterous for the NFLPA) they elected to keep the system that was already in place.

    STILL a mistake for the players in the end, though.

  14. jackntorres says: Apr 1, 2012 1:09 PM

    profootballwalk says: Apr 1, 2012 12:40 PM

    Dear Saints Fans:

    Since this year will be a wash-out for your team, I recommend that you get out on your Louisiana roads with rubbish bags and pick up the trash you’ve thrown there. I’ve never seen such a filthy state as Louisiana. Everywhere you go, it looks like the top came off the rubbish truck and all the trash blew out. Seriously – Louisiana should have ‘The Litter State’ on their vehicle plates.
    —–
    So now we know you’re not only jealous of our football team, but of our entire state. Get a life hater.

  15. daknight93 says: Apr 1, 2012 1:10 PM

    this bounty crap is ridiculous…saints players are only guilty of taking cash under the table, saints never intended to injury any player and didn’t injure anyone…if a player did get hurt, it was done by a legal hit…lions coach says he gave rewards for legal big hits or game changing hits by giving players stereos and electronics…..league admitted incentive programs do exist in nfl…Saints are being made an example of as a Scapegoat by goodell..release all documents and the truth will come out

  16. disp2 says: Apr 1, 2012 1:27 PM

    jason1980 says:
    Apr 1, 2012 12:22 PM
    This whole process is a sham. The league is in a box, bit off more than it could chew, and now is scrabbling to make some stand that doesn’t appear to be caving. Every fan base wants an example to be made of their opponents, not them. Saints fans understand what’s going on here, and will beat the odds, AGAIN! This team and their fan base could be more united. A meaner, polarized Saints team is not to the advantage of the other 31 teams, trust me on this.
    __________________________

    So Saints fans are the only ones who “see what’s going on here”? You must be clairvoyant! Here’s a wakeup call to all you Saints fans that keep spewing nonsense like this. You are not on the Saints team. You don’t have intimate knowledge of the inner workings of the team, or how they’ll deal with the situation. No one cares that the fan base is taking an “us against the world” approach. Because YOU’RE NOT ON THE TEAM. The Saints are in disarray, coaches have been suspended, and there’s a lot of uncertainty.

    From what I’ve gathered, the Saints losing their head coach and GM for the year, their best offensive lineman, and their franchise QB refusing to sign his deal, somehow means the Saints will actually be BETTER this upcoming season. Apparently all they needed was their fan base to get extra motivated. The actual players and coaching staff are just a formality, and actually don’t even matter. There’s being optimistic, and there’s being ridiculous.

  17. fafaflunky says: Apr 1, 2012 1:29 PM

    @cowboyhater..

    Well said..there is collusion going
    On..starts with that d bag mara..

  18. disp2 says: Apr 1, 2012 1:35 PM

    daknight93 says:
    Apr 1, 2012 1:10 PM

    league admitted incentive programs do exist in nfl…Saints are being made an example of as a Scapegoat by goodell..release all documents and the truth will come out

    ___

    The Saints lied about it, and covered it up for 3 years. They had a known felon contributing to the pool. They were told several times that if it was going on they needed to stop. Despite all this, they kept doing it. They could have injured 0 players and would still be punished, because the intent to injured, the lies, and the cover up were still there. It really doesn’t get much simpler than this. Stop pretending they only deserve punishment based off the players that were injured and use some common sense.

  19. chawk12thman says: Apr 1, 2012 1:46 PM

    Don’t wait for the NFLPA to review the information and see what they think…..Take appropriate action and the NFLPA can represent interests of those that get disciplined as well as the players that were targeted. The sooner the corrective action is taken, the more effective and appropriateness it would seem to be. Waiting does nothing as the NFLPA is likely to appeal or take any corrective action to arbitration anyway.

    The players waiting to see if they are going to be playing this coming season as well as the teams that have the rights to those players all want to know before the draft and FA are over.

    Lets move forward NFL.

  20. jason1980 says: Apr 1, 2012 1:54 PM

    Disp2…..and there’s envy. Get over it, you’ll see how in disarray the Saints are come regular season. Wish it until the cows come home, sweet revenge is on it’s way NFL! We know you’re scared, every post by you haters tell us that daily. We can’t wait!!!!

  21. jackntorres says: Apr 1, 2012 1:59 PM

    They had a known felon contributing to the pool.
    —-
    This is the only distinction between them and any other team. Not much is made of it in the media (since when do they focus on what’s important), but I think it was really the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    As far as lying and covering it up, the Saints are just worse at it than other teams. I guarantee they are not the only ones. Foolio said the Vikings were the ones who called for the initial investigation in 2010.

  22. irongrid says: Apr 1, 2012 2:00 PM

    @daknight93

    I am with you! Release all the information regarding the entire investigation? That’s the only way we will be able to truly see if bounties were initiated by coaches or players…If the investigation was biased against the Saints and if the NFL was being more punitive because of other related off the field issues? The NFL vs the NFLPA in “lack of institutional control”? No one really wants to take ownership in this issue. They may have to further expound, protect, and/or back away from positions in upcoming concussion litigation?

  23. jackntorres says: Apr 1, 2012 2:04 PM

    “I specifically considered whether to impose a suspension on Coach Belichick,” Goodell wrote in September of 2007. “I have determined not to do so, largely because I believe that the discipline I am imposing of a maximum fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft choice…is in fact more significant and long-lasting, and therefore more effective, than a suspension.”

    Tell that to Payton and the Saints.

  24. cwmorga says: Apr 1, 2012 2:05 PM

    @profootballwalk says: Apr 1, 2012 12:40 PM

    Dear Saints Fans:

    Since this year will be a wash-out for your team….
    ——————-

    You believe that? Many defensive players involved are no longer with the team, and the most important defender left – and probably the one to receive the harshest penalty – is being replaced by Lofton. Not to mention Payton will be replaced by Parcells, one of the most sought after defensive coordinators was brought in, and the playcaller for much of last year’s unbelievable offense is back.

    Seems like wishful thinking on the part of fans of other teams, esp NFC teams’ fans.

  25. senky3 says: Apr 1, 2012 2:19 PM

    actually, the punishment should be harder because of the known felon giving money. that really sounds like mob activity to me. and just for you poor saints fans that are still in denial, the email went to payton, not a player, williams or loomis….payton!!!!! now say that he didn’t know about it or that he did not condone it. if he didn’t then the fbi should be investigating for racketeering charges.

  26. claymaker says: Apr 1, 2012 2:29 PM

    Do Saints Fans Actually Read Reports That Have Been Out There For Over A Month Now?

    “The bounty doesn’t hurt players, the players do… and I have yet to see any proof of an injured player or a player getting carted off” ? Say What?

    Ever hear of Brett Favre? Hargrove yelling “Favres Done, Favres Done! Favres out of the game”!!! Whom by the way was fined for Illegal Hit! ………But the Saints fans never read about that? Common do you live under a rock or just the trash on your roads?

    How about the players like Adrien Peterson that have come forward?

    Bottom line is simple- If your gonna do the crime then you do the time. These players already get paid Millions of Dollars to Make Bone Crushing Hits, They don’t need more money as an extra incentive.

    I personally do hope that the “Guilty Players” get fined and suspended… When you play at a level of STUPIDITY you deserve whats coming for you. Who Dat!!!!!!

  27. desertspin says: Apr 1, 2012 2:31 PM

    Profootballwalk: Used to live there. Dirty city. Never wanted to go back, even for a visit.

  28. cwmorga says: Apr 1, 2012 2:52 PM

    @claymaker says: Apr 1, 2012 2:29 PM

    Do Saints Fans Actually Read Reports That Have Been Out There For Over A Month Now?

    “The bounty doesn’t hurt players, the players do… and I have yet to see any proof of an injured player or a player getting carted off” ? Say What?

    Ever hear of Brett Favre? Hargrove yelling “Favres Done, Favres Done! Favres out of the game”!!! Whom by the way was fined for Illegal Hit! ………But the Saints fans never read about that?
    ————————–

    So in 3 seasons of bounties (2009-2012), your mountain of evidence is 1 play in the NFC Champ game that resulted in a sprained ankle, and nothing in the following 2 seasons?

    Wow, get your pitchforks folks!

    /roll eyes

  29. jason1980 says: Apr 1, 2012 3:06 PM

    desertspin: Good, one less bag of garbage. Now, what does your post have to do with the subject at hand. You see, that’s what we’re talking about, losing hater fans from franchises that can’t win. Who Dat Nation and the Saints will never apologize for being a smash mouth football team, NEVER. Deal with it!

  30. abr173rd says: Apr 1, 2012 3:16 PM

    *The Saints lied about it, and covered it up for 3 years. They had a known felon contributing to the pool. They were told several times that if it was going on they needed to stop. Despite all this, they kept doing it. They could have injured 0 players and would still be punished, because the intent to injured, the lies, and the cover up were still there. It really doesn’t get much simpler than this. Stop pretending they only deserve punishment based off the players that were injured and use some common sense.—

    Again people, do your due diligence outside of the biased PFT reporting. This same Felon is was also working for the GreenBay Packers and the Ravens during their Superbowls as a “Super Bowl Consultant” This was way after he did prison time so all teams were aware that Ornstein was a convict and to be honest the NFL should have outlawed this guy from being associated with any team after he defrauded the league.

    Get some facts and come back and see me…. Half the people on here running their mouth’s teams were associated with this unsavory character- and you think he just started offering incentives when hired by the Saints?

  31. tommyf15 says: Apr 1, 2012 3:22 PM

    I can’t believe people here are STILL debating the moral implications of the Saints bounty program. I mean, how old is that news?

    Any opinions on the Nixon administration you’d like to share?

  32. lawyermalloy says: Apr 1, 2012 3:35 PM

    SMITTY: You were supposed to negotiate a better appeals process in the new CBA;I guess you forgot when you signed off!

  33. izzylangfan says: Apr 1, 2012 4:09 PM

    The real problem of the NFLPA is pretending that they actually use some judgement before they blindly defend whatever awful crimes and indiscretions its members commit.

  34. mjkelly77 says: Apr 1, 2012 6:36 PM

    lions coach says he gave rewards for legal big hits or game changing hits by giving players stereos and electronics …
    ________________

    Uhhhh, no. That was never said. Don’t try to drag other teams in with the Saints who stupidly messed things up for themselves.

  35. mjkelly77 says: Apr 1, 2012 6:40 PM

    daknight93 says:
    Apr 1, 2012 1:10 PM

    league admitted incentive programs do exist in nfl…Saints are being made an example of as a Scapegoat by goodell..release all documents and the truth will come out
    _____________________

    There’s a huge difference between an “incentive program” and a bounty program, like the one the Saints employed.

  36. mjkelly77 says: Apr 1, 2012 6:46 PM

    irongrid says:Apr 1, 2012 2:00 PM

    @daknight93

    I am with you! Release all the information regarding the entire investigation? That’s the only way we will be able to truly see if bounties were initiated by coaches or players…
    __________________

    It doesn’t matter who initiated the bounty program. If anyone partook, especially if they accepted money, they’re just as guilty as the initiator.

  37. daknight93 says: Apr 1, 2012 7:32 PM

    long term wear and tear on players + concussions resulting from helmet to helmet shots on all players is the real issue from former players who are suing the nfl and this bounty crap has nothing to do with this problem and goodell is using the saints as a smokescreen and scapegoat to cover up the issue of major concussions…any helmet to helmet collision on any player needs to stop and should never be legal…the player who hits with his helmet should be ejected, fined and suspended immediately…better tackling techniques need to be emphasized more.

  38. irongrid says: Apr 3, 2012 6:12 PM

    @mjkelly77

    I totally disagree! It absolutely does matter who initiated the Bounty System. If your coach/boss/superior instigated it then you would be more likely to participate? In that situation it adds validity to the practice! You might fear your role as starter or team player could be at stake? Just like Goldman Sachs higher-ups pressuring employees to knowingly push bad bets on clients? The penalties should be exponentially higher?

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