In his first statement since he was suspended for three games in the NFL’s investigation of the Saints’ bounty program, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita denied contributing money for bounties and insisted that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was wrong to suspend him.
“I disagree wholeheartedly with the discipline imposed,” Fujita wrote in a comment posted on his website. “I’ve yet to hear the specifics of any allegation against me, nor have I seen any evidence that supports what the NFL alleges in its press release. I look forward to the opportunity to confront what evidence they claim to have in the appropriate forum. Until then, I stand by my previous comments. I have never contributed money to any so-called ‘bounty’ pool, and any statements to the contrary are false. To say I’m disappointed with the League would be a huge understatement. Any further questions can be directed to my union.”
Fujita’s claim that he never contributed money for a bounty comes in sharp contrast to what the NFL said in its announcement that Fujita was suspended. According to the league’s investigation, Fujita “pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL Playoffs when he played for the Saints. The pool to which he pledged paid large cash rewards for ‘cart-offs’ and ‘knockouts,’ plays during which an opposing player was injured.”
It’s hard to read Fujita’s statement and the NFL’s findings and see any room for common ground: Either Fujita is lying or the people the NFL listened to in its investigation are lying.
Fujita played for the Saints from 2006 to 2009 before signing with the Browns in 2010. As a member of the NFLPA Executive Committee, Fujita has criticized the NFL for not doing enough to promote player safety.