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NFLPA’s outside lawyer says league has not provided “substantial evidence” of player involvement

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The NFL has circulated a transcript of Thursday morning’s media conference call with Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor who has been hired by the league to review the evidence regard the Saints’ bounty program.

The NFLPA’s outside counsel, former prosecutor Richard Smith of Fulbright & Jaworski, wasn’t impressed with Ms. White’s characterization of the evidence made available to the union.

“I was at the meeting with the NFL’s lead investigators in March,” Smith said in an email forwarded to PFT  by the NFLPA.  “She was not there.  Anyone, especially former prosecutors like both of us, know that what the league provided could never be called ‘substantial evidence’ of player participation in a pay-to-injure program.  Worse yet, Mary Jo provided nothing new or compelling today beyond another press briefing.  My guess is that a veteran FBI agent like Joe Hummel would agree as well.”

The competing positions make even more clear the importance of full public disclosure of all relevant evidence to support the NFL’s claims.  The league has made this a public issue from the outset, and the NFLPA has joined the battle in very public fashion.  Surely, the two sides can agree that it’s in everyone’s best interests for the public to know the facts.

And if the NFL and NFLPA can’t agree on that, then there’s a good chance they’ll never agree on anything again.

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31 Responses to “NFLPA’s outside lawyer says league has not provided “substantial evidence” of player involvement”
  1. pgui88 says: May 3, 2012 4:53 PM

    Is that Eddie Murphy? Either way, he makes mucho senso.

  2. dolphinsrule65 says: May 3, 2012 4:58 PM

    Only the MEDIA wants this to continue and continue, this is the sllllooooooooow time in the NFL and you guys need something to dwell on….Any Favre stories? Geesh we miss the good ole days…
    First, the NFL has no need to disclose anything to us…it is a private buisness.
    Second, I think what alot of you forget is the UNION/PLAYERS agreed to this appeal process in the CBA, if they had an issue with the appeal process in the past, they could have changed it, but they did not.
    When the Def cord/HC and GM, all said,opps sorry we did it, we had it, this is what happened..that is all the prove i need and probably most of the people on here.

  3. fin72 says: May 3, 2012 4:59 PM

    Would YOU trust a guy like Roger Goodell? Thumbs up if yes.

  4. arkadyrenko says: May 3, 2012 5:02 PM

    Surprise. The NFL’s lawyer says there’s a problem, and the NFLPA’s lawyer says there’s not. Can we skip the 8 to 10 months of pointless press conferences and injunctions and just go directly to court so we can get this over with?

  5. r0b1b0y says: May 3, 2012 5:15 PM

    So Hummel really was forced out!?! Love it, plot thickens…

  6. sgtr0c says: May 3, 2012 5:18 PM

    Why isn’t the nflpa sticking up for Farve? He was in the union. Doesn’t he count?

    I realize they are just defending their members from excessive punishment, but they haven’t really even mentioned anything about how they protecting their members from excessive “player against player” punishment. Is it ok to knock your top players out of a career who are keeping the going rate $$$ rising? or is it just media face time they are after?

    It is stuff like this that proves that this orginization is a joke. NFLPA, whatevs….

  7. phillyforlife says: May 3, 2012 5:32 PM

    Lawers are a joke biggest problem with this country all they want is money not true justice they will tell I can win this drain your pockets then cut you loose after all your money is gone just ask mike he is no different.

  8. mike83ri says: May 3, 2012 5:40 PM

    I just don’t understand the strategy of the NFLPA sticking up for a handful of guys who were participating in behavior that was designed to impact the money-making potential of the larger majority of the players in the the union that they represent.

    By making these demands, they’re potentially forcing the NFL to disclose proof submitted on the condition of confidentiality, and will discourage future whistle-blowers. This strategy is a bad one long-term when the NFLPA continues to bargain for everything they want based on the ‘impact of player-safety’, and the pending lawsuits against the NFL will be harder and more costly to win/settle, which lead to lower profits. Given that these bottom-line profits now have a greater impact on annual player salaries, they’re just shooting themselves in the foot.

  9. pppath says: May 3, 2012 5:47 PM

    Godell needs to let this go to an impartial arbitrator. Set his ego aside and this thing will be over in a month.

  10. thankheavenfornumberseven says: May 3, 2012 5:56 PM

    pgui88 says:May 3, 2012 4:53 PM

    Is that Eddie Murphy?
    ______

    I was thinking Charles from The Office (the guy who took over when Michael started the Michael Scott Paper Company).

  11. zimaman says: May 3, 2012 5:58 PM

    pgui88 says:
    May 3, 2012 4:53 PM
    _____________________

    u nailed it

    he looks EXACTLY like Eddie Murphy in that scene of “The Distinguished Gentlmen”

    anyone that gave you a thumbs down did not see the movie and if they did there morons

  12. 7ransponder says: May 3, 2012 6:01 PM

    We know the coaches knew. That’s an established fact at this point. So riddle me this: how does a program like this continue for multiple years if the players aren’t participating?

  13. sonnyboychris says: May 3, 2012 6:05 PM

    You mean the league is doing what it what’s without evidence or merit?! I’m shocked! Lol

    The league is crooked. Spygate. Capgate and now Bountygate.

  14. phillyphever says: May 3, 2012 6:13 PM

    Can’t wait for the day when Smith finally leaves the NFLPA. Seriously, this guy’s a joke.

  15. mjkelly77 says: May 3, 2012 6:22 PM

    This looks like an old photo of Algonquin J. Calhoun, Esquire.

  16. mjkelly77 says: May 3, 2012 6:23 PM

    …. for those of you old enough to remember.

  17. blacknole08 says: May 3, 2012 6:25 PM

    The NFLPA should really worry about how the targeted players and their affected teams are gonna respond to them protecting the suspended “bounty” players. Those guys were the real victims. And they really can’t afford to continuously be at odds with the owners, the people that really call most of the shots.

    Pick your battles wisely NFLPA.

  18. crabboil says: May 3, 2012 6:26 PM

    Something’s not right here… Not one single ding dong has left a comment saying, “Drew Brees needs an explanation.”

    Saved by the Bell must be on…

  19. csmit44 says: May 3, 2012 6:26 PM

    “I realize they are just defending their members from excessive punishment, but they haven’t really even mentioned anything about how they protecting their members from excessive “player against player” punishment. Is it ok to knock your top players out of a career who are keeping the going rate $$$ rising? or is it just media face time they are after?”

    I guess the thing is though…is that guys are trying to truly punish each other on every play. Do you really think there is honestly 1 defensive player in the league who wouldn’t want to knock the opposing qb out of the game in the NFC title game or the superbowl if given a shot at it?…there isn’t.

    Some of the most celebrated teams in the league’s history had killer defenses that absolutely obliterated the QB and opposing offensive skilled players. Not saying they were offering bounties, but anyone who thinks that these guys weren’t trying to knock the other guys out is pretty naive.

  20. mjkelly77 says: May 3, 2012 6:29 PM

    fin72 says:May 3, 2012 4:59 PM

    Would YOU trust a guy like Roger Goodell? Thumbs up if yes.
    Thumbs up 40 Thumbs down 24
    _________________

    So far, not what you’d hoped for, huh, fin72.

  21. alligatorsnapper says: May 3, 2012 6:30 PM

    GOD-ell is the judge, jury, and executioner as well as hears the appeal. The NFLPA are incompetent boobs if they agreed to this fiasco. No evidence uncovered yet of the actual participation of any Saints players in the actual bountygate but Saints players present and past are being penalized–suspended.

    GOD-ell is doing his best to protect the NFL owners from a huge lawsuit, but still may be vulnerable to such.

  22. KIR says: May 3, 2012 6:38 PM

    @fin72 says:

    Would YOU trust a guy like Roger Goodell?Thumbs up if yes.
    __________________________________

    If you trust Godell or anyone else to suspend you for a year without pay. Without showing proof. Two thumbs up. lol

  23. mjkelly77 says: May 3, 2012 6:38 PM

    Maurice the pimp hat-wearing impeddy dimp Smith is going the wrong way on this. He needs to sit the transgressors down and tell them that it’s not in the best interest of the game to knock out the big stars. Tell them they’re going to take their punishment and to shut up about it. I can’t understand a union head that would allow excessive physical harm to befall specific members, especially big name members. But after all, Smith is an idiot and doesn’t appear to have the capacity to view things in a macroscopic sense. I can’t understand how he got re-elected.

  24. majbobby says: May 3, 2012 6:39 PM

    Keep it up NFL. Stick to your guns commish

  25. mornelithe says: May 3, 2012 6:41 PM

    The media needs to get over themselves, and Florio, if you think the NFL is going to release the names of the whistle blower(s) ergo, full disclosure, you’re out of your mind.

    Salivate over this debacle as much as you’d like (and you’re doing a great job, don’t get me wrong), but it’s just not going to happen. At most, a few select people (judge, prosecutor, defense) will be allowed to see the entire picture. Until it actually goes to court, there’s no reason for the NFL to risk divulging their names.

  26. chawk12thman says: May 3, 2012 6:57 PM

    arkadyrenko says:
    May 3, 2012 5:02 PM
    Surprise. The NFL’s lawyer says there’s a problem, and the NFLPA’s lawyer says there’s not. Can we skip the 8 to 10 months of pointless press conferences and injunctions and just go directly to court so we can get this over with?

    ================================

    This isn’t going to court. I do agree with the premise that this needs to be over………The appeal process will make it so. As per the CBA, the players and NFLPA can appeal to and make their case to the Commissioner and he will decide if he needs to adjust the penalties. My guess is he will say the appeal is denied and at that point we can all move forward. There is no other recourse and no court has “standing” in this issue.

    Hang tight everyone, this is almost over………I hope.

  27. porterhouse12 says: May 3, 2012 7:19 PM

    So, the NFLPA is OK if the fight a lack of evidence. That totally works if no evidence exists. On the other hand, when evidence comes out, some egg will be on the face when it’s clear the union should have stood up for the targeted players from day one.

    What should the Union have done? Been outraged at the allegation. Get an honest answer from the players, and punish them like colleges do to beat the NCAA to the punch. Vilma = 2 game suspension. Public opinion would favor the NFLPA for being proactive and then everyone can hate Godell for more penalty.

    Lack of evidence doesn’t matter in the NFL. Why are the players remaining to show the league/owners are just smarter…

  28. tatum064 says: May 3, 2012 7:56 PM

    Poor animals vanquish to fulfil the foolish dreams of men
    ==========

    Because he got a deal done to avert a strike costing the league, advertisers, the networks and stadium employees, MILLIONS.

    That’s why. And Smith isn’t taking on the case , his outside lawyer is.

  29. hobbstweedle says: May 3, 2012 8:19 PM

    1. What Smith and White are saying are not even remotely close to being inconsistent. White reviewed the NFL’s evidence, and called it solid. Smith says the NFL failed to provide enough evidence to satisfy the union that the players deserved the punishment meted out. Those are two really different things. They both might be absolutely right.

    2. To all you 10 year olds with your “GOD-ell” baloney, not only do you need to grow up, you might want to reconsider whether a player’s very own admission that he participated in the Saints’ bounty system amounts to “substantial evidence” (see Hargrove, Anthony) of player involvement. Because I think to most people, it is.

    3. Yeah, dude looks like Eddie Murphy. Sure hope he reacts to that better than your run-of-the-mill Minnesota Viking, huh?

  30. babyhorsemorgan says: May 3, 2012 9:54 PM

    Well we know the person in the picture is not Mary Jo White, because he is not a female.

  31. stevenfbrackett says: May 3, 2012 10:07 PM

    Well, geeze, if you would have accepted the League’s invitation to come to the office and look over the files, you’d have all the info you need.

    Stop this disingenuous posing.

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