The NFL continues to decline to provide hard, direct evidence of the bounty allegations that fueled the suspensions of four players. The NFLPA continues to call for such evidence.
“Punishment demands evidence,” NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth writes in an item for USA Today. Foxworth reiterates that the league has yet to provide “specific, detailed evidence of player involvement in a pay-to-injure program.”
As we understand it, the NFL has provided only the March 2 report of NFL Security, the March 21 announcement of penalties against the Saints and various non-players, and a 20-slide Power Point presentation that was shown but not given to NFLPA representatives at a meeting in New York.
“Instead of transparent and fair due process for the four suspended players, the NFL chose news media leaks, character assassinations, PR campaigns and legal manipulation to mislead the public,” Foxworth writes.
Foxworth also takes issue with the suggestion that the NFLPA is protecting wrongdoers at the expense of those who were targeted.
“Over the years, it has been the players who’ve fought the league to make changes to the prevailing attitudes about health and safety in football,” Foxworth writes. “We led the change in the way concussions are addressed; successfully opposed 18-game seasons; demanded a change in the NFL’s leadership on brain trauma research and prevention; created new benefits for cognitive injury; shortened and limited contact in practices; created a better injury protection benefit and a $100 million health and safety research fund. We continue to fight the NFL in 500 workers compensation cases.”
In this specific case, the NFLPA has every right to demand the raw evidence on which the league’s conclusions have been based. To this day, no evidence has been produced to demonstrate that a player received money for inflicting injury or paid money to induce another player to do so.
If that evidence exists, let’s see it. With each passing day that the evidence isn’t disclosed, suspicions will grow that the evidence just doesn’t exist.