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Fujita professes innocence on bounties but won’t get into details yet

Scott Fujita AP

Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, one of four players facing suspensions for their alleged roles in the alleged Saints bounty system, addressed the media after Tuesday’s OTA practice in Cleveland.

And Fujita left no doubt regarding his position on the situation.

That is not true,” Fujita said of the league’s contention that he helped fund a pool of money that went to players who knocked opponents out of games, via Scott Petrak of the Chronicle-Telegram.

Still, Fujita is not yet ready to delve into details.

“Unfortunately for a lot of us, we’re on public trial,” Fujita said.  “But I’m just going to stick with my previous statements and, listen, there will come a time when I’ll be ready to share everything, but now is not the time.”

His concern is more than the money he’ll lose during a three-game suspension.  “Listen, my reputation is a lot more valuable to me than three game checks, and my track record speaks for itself,” Fujita said.  “It’s our word against theirs and that’s frustrating, but the reality is that I know what actually happened and that’s why I can stand by those statements.”

Given the public nature of the accusations, with the NFL releasing only summaries of information and snippets of raw evidence in support of serious allegations against Fujita and the other three players, it would be nice if the NFL would be more specific about the things the league believes happened.

It also would be nice if one or more of the players would tell their side or the story, sooner rather than later.

We understand that, for strategic reasons, the players need to keep their cards close to the vest, in order to enhance their chances to win the appeal, wherever and whenever it may occur.  But if Fujita truly doesn’t care about the three game checks, he should just spill his guts now and tell his story.

After giving the league the benefit of the doubt when the story first emerged on March 2, since it was clearly against the league’s obvious interests to peel back the curtain and admit that one of the NFL’s flagship franchises was cheating, we’ve become far more skeptical about the league’s claims.  The persistent refusal of the league to produce evidence coupled with troubling inconsistencies between the league’s description of the two items that have become available (the Anthony Hargrove declaration and the Mike Ornstein email) have given rise to a legitimate concern that the league has clear evidence of a pay-for-performance system, clear evidence of cartoonish locker room talk regarding bounties, but zero evidence that anyone ever acted upon the urgings to try to inflict injury — or that anyone ever actually received a dime for doing so.

At this point, we’ll take whatever evidence we can get.  And if the league won’t tell the story in chapter-and-verse detail, here’s hoping Scott Fujita or Anthony Hargrove or Will Smith or Jonathan Vilma or Sean Payton of Gregg Williams or Joe Vitt or Mickey Loomis will.

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26 Responses to “Fujita professes innocence on bounties but won’t get into details yet”
  1. rooneyruleblues says: May 22, 2012 4:28 PM

    Baseball players for years said, ” I never took Steroids” Guess what yeah they did. Which is exactly what will happen here. Professional athletes seem to have no problem lieing to protect themselves, and continuing to lie after they have been caught redhanded.

  2. zidanevalor says: May 22, 2012 4:33 PM

    Maybe it’s just a pet peeve of mine, but I hate it when people say “well for legal reasons Player X can’t say anything, but he should anyway.”

  3. spartan822 says: May 22, 2012 4:35 PM

    “…. since it was clearly against the league’s obvious interests to peel back the curtain and admit that one of the NFL’s flagship franchises was cheating, we’ve become far more skeptical about the league’s claims.”
    —–
    I’m very skeptical of your claim that the Saints are one of the NFL’s flagship franchises.

  4. claydefayette says: May 22, 2012 4:36 PM

    Fujita is just going to have to lie until he believes it.

  5. daysend564 says: May 22, 2012 4:36 PM

    Of course not. You don’t want to say something now that the other guys aren’t also saying.

  6. geo1113 says: May 22, 2012 4:45 PM

    Fujita says he knows what happened. But if there was no program then nothing happened so there would be nothing to know.

  7. spartan822 says: May 22, 2012 4:46 PM

    Translation: we need more time to get our stories straight.

  8. juliusanonymous says: May 22, 2012 4:50 PM

    Not saying Fujita is personally guilty of anything. But is obvious and absurd PR spin to claim there is no evidence as PFT has repatedly tried to do lately.

    Look we all heard the Williams tape. So its just insulting to the readers intelligence to say there is no proof. What else do you need? Obviously its not enough for PFT that Williams himself admitted guilt in a statement to the media. No matter how hard you try to spin it, that demon ain’t going back into Pandora’s box.

  9. robf2010 says: May 22, 2012 4:53 PM

    “Baseball players for years said, ” I never took Steroids” Guess what yeah they did.”

    And you know that how? Because MLB produced hard evidence in the form of test results. The NFL has produced two documents of dubious value and NOTHING else.

  10. juliusanonymous says: May 22, 2012 4:56 PM

    Oh and the players are making statements because they know they don’t have a chance in court. PFT knows it too. Florio is an former employment attorney. If he saw even the slightest hole in the NFL’s case, tell us what it is. Cut out the double talk and the strawmen and lay out some actual legal analysis. That hasn’t happened because even Florio knows, the players don’t have a shot in court. They don’t have a leg to stand on. What is their claim? That an employer took unfair disciplinary action in an at-will state. Good luck with that.

  11. profootballwalk says: May 22, 2012 5:10 PM

    If you didn’t do it, there’s no reason why you can’t say you didn’t do it. No one who is innocent ever says “I can’t tell you the truth right now – wait until later.” You only have to worry about what you say when you’re lying.

  12. cgarsmoker says: May 22, 2012 5:21 PM

    These players should hope and pray Vilma’s lawsuit doesn’t end up getting them dragged into a deposition where they continue with these BS denials…..It’s all semantics over whether it was pay for performance vs pay for injuries/cart offs.

    Ask Roger Clemmons or Barry Bonds how things work out when you lie under oath.

  13. phreakin says: May 22, 2012 5:30 PM

    Here’s the thing that gets me with people, not athletes or the Saints in general, when it comes to being accused of something. If i’m accused of a crime that I know 100% without a shadow of a doubt I didn’t do, I would be screaming from the highest building to whomever would listen to me. I would need a lawyer to have a strategy about what I should or shouldn’t say because nothing I say is going to make me less innocent or more guilty. So for him, or any other person to say I can’t say anything right now is bull. He can, and should say everything if he knows he is 100% innocent.

  14. mylionsroaring says: May 22, 2012 5:30 PM

    I know what actually happened and that’s why I can stand by those statements.”

    That tells me something did happen, it just sounds like he don’t agree with the story being told.

  15. achamarro1 says: May 22, 2012 5:42 PM

    Using the word “cheating” is miss leading. That is my pet peeve in all this. If what they ssy happened actually did then it would be unsportsman conduct. They didnt gain a edge over other players like baseball players did with steroids. Thats comparing apples to oranges.

  16. genericuser8888 says: May 22, 2012 5:49 PM

    It was not against league interests to punish the Saints. It shows that the league is taking safety seriously, which is far more important than sullying the image of one franchise.

    Also, it makes a nifty show of concern before the concussion lawsuits go to trial.

  17. deathtoromo says: May 22, 2012 6:23 PM

    Would all these Saints losers just man up already! You did it. Period. Now they’re all following that coward Vilmas lead and sayin they want to see evidence. How is this different than OJ’s lawyers twisting technicalities? He did it, they did it. Nothin worse than a man who won’t own up to what he did. What’s stunning is these people made it to the nfl being spineless. Seems hard to do. The whole Saints organization is ” dirty ” and they deserve every last thing they get, including their greedy , dellusional quarterback.

  18. mark0226 says: May 22, 2012 8:26 PM

    And, the reason Fujita cannot talk about this in public is because he is guilty of violating the rules by donating money in a pay-for-performance program. Even though is is already on record of saying that, he cannot clarify the distinction between pay-for-performance vs. pay-for-injury, without further digging the legal hole and admitting that he was violating the rules. He has to wait for the process to play out before he can make that distinction.

  19. all32 says: May 22, 2012 9:07 PM

    It’s not a lie if you believe it

  20. rooneyruleblues says: May 22, 2012 10:02 PM

    robf2010 says: May 22, 2012 4:53 PM

    “Baseball players for years said, ” I never took Steroids” Guess what yeah they did.”

    And you know that how? Because MLB produced hard evidence in the form of test results. The NFL has produced two documents of dubious value and NOTHING else.

    Show me a blood test or urine test that shows Berry Bonds took roids. Yet we all know he did. And yes no fan believes he isnt.

  21. jason1980 says: May 22, 2012 10:23 PM

    Yeah, the Saints deserve everything they get, like a Superbowl win this season in NEW ORLEANS BABY!!!
    We feed off of envy and jealousy from loser fan bases. Saints will do their talking on the field. Watch out NFL, the Saints are coming to get ya!!!

  22. robf2010 says: May 22, 2012 11:32 PM

    “Show me a blood test or urine test that shows Berry Bonds took roids. Yet we all know he did. And yes no fan believes he isnt.”

    Lance Armstrong, too. Still, this notion that “we just know they’re guilty” doesn’t work for me. Disappointing that it DOES work for so many here.

  23. cowboycjn says: May 23, 2012 8:51 AM

    We understand that, for strategic reasons, the players need to keep their cards close to the vest, in order to enhance their chances to win the appeal, wherever and whenever it may occur. But if Fujita truly doesn’t care about the three game checks, he should just spill his guts now and tell his story.
    = = = = = = = = = = = =
    And just why should he say anythng (spill his guts) as you put it? Because YOU think so. The guy knows something because he knows exactly what took place – not the twisted story that has been painted to add drama by the media. He will speak when he is good and ready too at the right time to his benefit – the dude is not stupid.

  24. nolarules says: May 23, 2012 11:09 AM

    spartan822 says:
    May 22, 2012 4:35 PM
    I’m very skeptical of your claim that the Saints are one of the NFL’s flagship franchises.
    ———————————————-
    Exactly. Saints were never a flagship franchise and will never be a flagship franchise. There is only one and will only ever be one flagship franchise from a small market: Packers. That is just the way it is. The Saints have great fans and great support (50k plus waiting list for season tickets) but they will never be a national team. The Bandwagon has been emptied by all of this. Thanks god for that

  25. nolarules says: May 23, 2012 11:15 AM

    Also, to agree with many posters.
    Telling the whole stories from the players side is going to be that they willingly took part in and funded a pay for performance pool. And they should be punished for it just as the coaches and gm should be punished for it.
    But the NFL told the story of a bounty pool where players entered the field trying to injure other players to get money. That is what the NFL has to prove. I totally believe as a Saints fan that they had a pay for performance system. Players have admitted to that as have the coaches in their statements. I am just yet to see one shred of proof of a BOUNTY system. Unfortunately for Goodell, he had to prove the bounty system, not a pay for performance system, to the public.

  26. silentcount says: May 23, 2012 7:32 PM

    There was no on-the-field evidence of Saints players trying to injure players. It doesn’t make sense that they would, anymore than it would for players on other teams. Every one says Goodell’s public accusations were not true. He was not there 3 years ago, so I would believe the players who were. As any American, they deserve to be considered innocent until proven guilty. There has been no proof provided other than what Goodell says, and the media has reported it over and over until the public has just assumed it’s fact. That was what Goodell was hoping, as indicated by the statements he made the coaches sign. His position of absolute power should not be trusted. He knows what he claims is evidence will not hold up in Vilma’s lawsuit. The real truth will come out and Goodell will be forced to resign. Serves him right.

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