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Fujita’s suspension arises only from money contributed during 2009 playoffs

Scott Fujita AP

One of the grievances filed by the NFLPA attaches as exhibits the four letters sent by Commissioner Roger Goodell to the individual players who have been suspended.

The letter to former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita makes clear that he is accused only of pledging a “significant amount of money” to the broader pay-for-performance/bounty pool.  The pool paid out money both for big plays and “cart-offs” and “knockouts.”

While Goodell’s letter to Fujita states that the pool “paid large cash rewards for ‘cart-offs’ and ‘knockouts,'” the NFL still has produced no specific evidence that anyone received any payment for players being carted off and/or knocked out of games.  (That’s possibly because the only player carted off of any Saints game from 2009 through 2011 was Saints running back Reggie Bush, who broke a leg against the 49ers in 2010.)  Absent such evidence, Fujita merely contributed to a pool of money that was paid out to players who intercepted passes, forced fumbles, etc.

If that’s the case, Fujita’s three-game suspension seems a little excessive, especially without specific evidence of the “significant amount” of money he supposedly contributed.

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26 Responses to “Fujita’s suspension arises only from money contributed during 2009 playoffs”
  1. chitownbullet says: May 4, 2012 2:42 PM

    Intent, what was the intent of the pool? Obviously the league has it on good authority that this was against the rules and the intent was what they say it was. The intent issue here is huge intent can get you 30 to life in litigated cases, so I have no problem with his or any other suspensions or penalties. These guys knew what they were doing was shady, they just figured the bennies out weighed the negatives. Also they figured they wouldn’t get caught.

  2. daysend564 says: May 4, 2012 2:44 PM

    A fine, upstanding, member of the NFLPA executive committee!!!

  3. broncosfan03 says: May 4, 2012 2:44 PM

    “Fujita merely contributed to a pool of money that was paid out to players who intercepted passes, forced fumbles, etc.” AND injure players. Just because it wasn’t dispersed for such reasons does not absolve him of his crimes. I provided bullets for the war, but since the bullets didn’t actually hurt anyone, I shouldn’t be in trouble for providing them. That is terrible logic. I expected the coverage of the appeals to be slanted, but not slanted in favor of the people who did the crimes.

  4. whatnojets says: May 4, 2012 2:44 PM

    So, if the defense captain on any team takes out his defensive line for let say dinner, for shutting down the opponents offense, does that also break the rules about making “payments”?

    Doesn’t the above happen very regularly with all teams?

  5. dmartin17 says: May 4, 2012 2:48 PM

    Well, technically, these pools are against the rules anyways, headhunting or not.

  6. jason1980 says: May 4, 2012 2:48 PM

    You can spin this anyway you like haters, but the NFL has got themselves into some deep do-do. Way to go Goddell, this just keeps getting better.

  7. whoisthatteam says: May 4, 2012 2:52 PM

    chitownbullet says:
    May 4, 2012 2:42 PM
    Intent, what was the intent of the pool? Obviously the league has it on good authority that this was against the rules and the intent was what they say it was. The intent issue here is huge intent can get you 30 to life in litigated cases, so I have no problem with his or any other suspensions or penalties. These guys knew what they were doing was shady, they just figured the bennies out weighed the negatives. Also they figured they wouldn’t get caught.
    *******************************************

    Want to do an investigation into your team for the past 3 years to see if any money changed hands as the result of big hits, int’s or fumbles? Every team in the league was doing this. NFL* in an attempt to make an examples out of the saints have far overstepped their bounds. GODell will get what is coming to him.

  8. sfsaintsfan says: May 4, 2012 2:59 PM

    “While Goodell’s letter to Fujita states that the pool “paid large cash rewards for ‘cart-offs’ and ‘knockouts,’” the NFL still has produced no specific evidence that anyone received any payment for players being carted off and/or knocked out of games. (That’s possibly because the only player carted off of any Saints game from 2009 through 2011 was Saints running back Reggie Bush, who broke a leg against the 49ers in 2010.) Absent such evidence, Fujita merely contributed to a pool of money that was paid out to players who intercepted passes, forced fumbles, etc.”

    Wow, you are finally getting it.

    I guess when you read read the truth often enough it finally sinks in.

    During a Three Year Period, the Entire Saints Defense was Responsible for ZERO “Knock-Outs” or “Cart-Offs” as a result of an Illegal Hit on the Field.

    The entire “Bounty” story is just that a “story” dreamed up by Goodell to get back at Sean Payton, because he doesn’t like him. There was a “pay for performance” program at some point, just like there was for many other NFL teams. There was no pay for injury program because nobody was injured.

    And for all of the geniuses out there who will say, “there was an intent to injure” get a life. Do you really believe that if an NFL player really wanted to injure another player during a game, that the could not do so? I could take out the ACL of the meanest toughest dude in the world while he was walking down the sidewalk of any city street. It would be so easy, just dive at his knee from the side while running at full speed. Afterward, he would probably run after me on one leg, catch me, and beat me over the head with the bloody stump of my right leg, but he would have a torn ACL.

  9. puppylovenyc says: May 4, 2012 2:59 PM

    My comment disappeared?

    Again, if the NFL had solid, concrete, beyond-a-doubt evidence of a “pay for injury” system, we all would have seen it by now.

  10. dpinchot says: May 4, 2012 3:03 PM

    This is all starting to look a bit shady to me. Kind of like when a parent says to the kid “because I told you so, that’s why”

  11. Deb says: May 4, 2012 3:04 PM

    My position on this is that the Saints coaches and GM deserve what they got. They partially funded their bounty program with money from an outside felon (Michael Ornstein), which cheated the salary cap. That alone was worth the suspensions. Plus they revved up players to go for the head (no matter what happened on the field) at a time when the league was actively trying to avoid Congressional hearings and lawsuits on concussions. And they lied repeatedly to league investigators.

    Players should be judged by what they did on the field. If they’d been engaging in dirty hits, they’d have been flagged, fined, or suspended at the time. But those who threw money into a pot specifically set aside for “cart-offs” and “knockouts” don’t get any sympathy from me. It’s considerably worse than some of the minor drug offenses for which players have been suspended longer.

  12. stopyourlies says: May 4, 2012 3:11 PM

    Mike Floria, PFT, May 4, 2012: “the only player carted off of any Saints game from 2009 through 2011 was Saints running back Reggie Bush”

    PFT Headline, Nov. 7, 2010: “Jonathan Stewart carted off field”
    From the PFT article: “running back Jonathan Stewart was knocked out of Sunday’s game in the first quarter after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit from Saints safety Darren Sharper. Stewart left the game on a cart. ”

    Steeve Reed, CarolinaGrowl, Oct. 3, 2010: “Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith injured his left ankle in the waning moments of the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints and has been carted to the locker room.”

    Associated Press, Oct. 18, 2009: “Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie strained his groin and was taken off of the field on a cart late in the first half of New York’s game at New Orleans on Sunday.”

  13. puppylovenyc says: May 4, 2012 3:12 PM

    Don’t you think that if a professional NFL player was *trying* to take someone out, they could have? Who was carted off, exactly? Oh yeah, no one.

  14. sfsaintsfan says: May 4, 2012 3:22 PM

    stopyourlies:

    Those were ALL Legal hits.

    What is at issue here are “Illegal” hits.

    There were ZERO “cart-offs” or “knock-outs” by the Saints Defense over a three year period as a result of Illegal Hits.

    Do you really want players suspended for Legal Hits during a game?

    Flag Football anyone?

  15. whatnojets says: May 4, 2012 3:26 PM

    NEW ORLEANS — Giants right tackle Kareem McKenzie strained his groin and was taken off of the field on a cart late in the first half of New York’s game at New Orleans on Sunday.

    Giants officials said early in the second half that McKenzie would not return to the game. The team did not specify which leg was injured, but it appeared to be his right one. He was hurt on a play in which Eli Manning was sacked and stripped of the ball on a safety blitz by Roman Harper.
    ————————————————-
    NEW ORLEANS — Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith injured his left ankle in the waning moments of the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints and been carted to the locker room.
    Smith caught a 5-yard pass from Jimmy Clausen and then grabbed the back of his left leg after being wrestled to the ground. He remained on the field for several minutes, then walked off the field gingerly. The team announced that his return is questionable, but it appears unlikely Smith will return.

    ————————————————–Stewart lowered his head just seconds before gettinmg hit by Sharper….

    No fine was issued

  16. puppylovenyc says: May 4, 2012 3:32 PM

    whatnojets – don’t take away his thunder. It sounds so much better (and makes for much better drama) to just make up the facts.

  17. weepingjebus says: May 4, 2012 3:38 PM

    “We hit (profanity) (Alex) Smith right there. Remember me, I’ve got the first one, I’ve got the first one. Go lay that (profanity) out. We’re gonna dominate the line of scrimmage and we’re gonna kill the (profanity) head. Every single one of you, before you get off the pile, affect the head. Early, affect the head. Continue, touch and hit the head.”

  18. puppylovenyc says: May 4, 2012 3:58 PM

    Yeah, those words hurt the Niners soooooo much.

  19. stopyourlies says: May 4, 2012 4:06 PM

    sfsaintsfan, I was responding directly to Mike Florio’s claim that no players other than Reggie Bush were carted off during the stated years.

    But your point seems to be: A bounty program for injuries is okay as long as the hits are legal. This is clearly not what the NFL thinks, as they did not claim that bounties were about illegal hits. According to the NFL bylaws, the standard player contract, and the CBA, bounties for injuries (whether from legal or illegal hits) are not allowed.

    FACT: Team executives, coaches and players have admitted to a bounty program.

    Mickey Loomis and Sean Payton: “We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch.”

  20. guppies66 says: May 4, 2012 4:07 PM

    The crime here is not that anybody’s career was in fact ended by the offering of money, but that the money was offered as an incentive to try to intentionally hurt somebody.

    He is guilty and should be ashamed for trying to parse words to get out of it.

    I used to like Fujita. Now I see he is a piece of garbage.

  21. stopyourlies says: May 4, 2012 4:15 PM

    puppylovenyc, these are your words: “Who was carted off, exactly? Oh yeah, no one.”

    I have submitted documented evidence that someone was carted off. I did not make up those facts. You claimed no one was carted off. That is clearly a lie.

    You support the Saints, even though the team itself has admitted to committing “serious violations.” I’m going to take the Saints at their word that they did what they said they did.

  22. puppylovenyc says: May 4, 2012 4:24 PM

    You are being disingenuous. Only one of the examples you cited were from hits from the Saints. Go back and read the news clips. The only hit from a Saint that resulted in an injury was Stewart lowered his head.

  23. stopyourlies says: May 4, 2012 5:56 PM

    No Puppylovenyc, I’ve cited two examples from hits by the Saints.
    Steve Reed, CarolinaGrowl, Oct. 3, 2010: “Smith, who had two catches for 11 yards, left the game with 3:28 left after making a reception near the Saints sidelines. It appeared two Saints players rolled over his ankle and Smith sat up holding his leg.”

    Steve Smith has since said that he was told by a Saints player, “Well, we get fined if we don’t go after your legs when you go out of bounds.”

    Just because I’ve only cited two examples of players being injured by the Saints does not mean these are the only examples.

  24. jackericsson says: May 4, 2012 8:10 PM

    There was intent on Brett Favre. He took plenty of illegal hits- of which only one was called. It didn’t knock him out of the game. However, it did alter the outcome of the game. The game was “Tainted.”

  25. rabbdogg says: May 5, 2012 1:19 PM

    brett farve didnt take but maybe one “illegal” hit in that games…stop crying about farve…brett did what brett always does…throw the game away…just like he did for the packers vs the giants the year eli won his 1st superbowl..the game ended the exact same way…an overtime loss brought on by an idiotic int thrown by brett farve….oh and ps..brett got hit so many times by the saints because the viking o-line sucked at picking up blitzes and adrian peterson CAN NOT pass block…the reason he rarely played on 3rd down, and chester taylor played the 3rd down back role…and when the vikings let taylor go for the 2010 season…farve was batter into submission by..well.. everybody..

  26. acetw says: May 5, 2012 4:44 PM

    “whatnojets says:
    May 4, 2012 2:44 PM
    So, if the defense captain on any team takes out his defensive line for let say dinner, for shutting down the opponents offense, does that also break the rules about making “payments”?

    Doesn’t the above happen very regularly with all teams?”

    Yes, in the eyes of the nfl it’s illegal and is noted as… (get ready for this)…

    a “bounty” program.

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