Last week, an intriguing rumor was making the rounds regarding the involvement of attorney David Boies in the Saints’ bounty probe. Boies, who represented the NFL in last year’s post-lockout antitrust action, later represented the NBA Players Association in a similar claim.
After ruling out the possibility that Boies was representing any of the Saints employees whose appeal hearings were held last week, we looked into the question of whether Boies had been hired by the NFLPA to represent individual players. Fascinating as the prospect may have been, the rumor wasn’t true. (One source jokingly compared the union hiring Boies to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones partnering with Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, before saying, “Oh, wait . . . .”)
The truth, according to AmLawDaily.com, is that the NFLPA has retained Richard Smith of Fulbright & Jaworski, an international law firm. Smith chairs the firm’s Global White Collar Crime and Government Investigations practice group.
It’s unclear at this point whether Smith will represent individual players in any potential criminal charges or whether he will represent the players in any appeals filed after discipline is imposed by the NFL or whether he will simply advise the NFLPA.
The league has identified only linebacker Jonathan Vilma as having involvement in the bounty system, but the NFL has said 22-to-27 total players funded and/or received payments. There are no specific indications at this point that any criminal charges will be pursued.