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After appeal hearings, Fujita says he still hasn’t seen proof of guilt

Jonathan Vilma AP

The start-and-stop bounty hearings started again this afternoon, and they finally have stopped.

Though Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma didn’t return (as expected), the other three players returned.  And after Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita left the league offices, Fujita stopped to speak to the media.

“The NFL’s investigation has been highlighted by sensationalized headlines and unsubstantiated leaks to the media. I have yet to see anything that implicates me . . . not in the last three months and not today,” Fujita said, via Barry Wilner of the Associated Press. “The NFL has been careless and irresponsible, and at some time will have to provide answers.”

Per Jim Varney of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Fujita was “clearly fighting emotions” as he spoke.

“It’s been very hard,” Fujita said, adding that anyone who has disagreed with the league’s take on the bounty case has been labeled a “liar.”

Now that I’m back in PFT headquarters after a day in Pittsburgh getting my annual full physical (and all that that implies), I’m going to look at every page that the NFL produced to the NFLPA on Friday, and that PFT obtained earlier today.

Then, I’ll give my take on whether and to what extent the evidence shows guilt.  And I may have one or two more things to say about whether and to what extent the NFL’s effort to protect the shield has in this case actually done damage to it.

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35 Responses to “After appeal hearings, Fujita says he still hasn’t seen proof of guilt”
  1. benh999 says: Jun 18, 2012 5:10 PM

    The only thing worse than Goodell being judge, jury, and executioner is for the accused themselves to be.

  2. nflfan555 says: Jun 18, 2012 5:14 PM

    It just sounds like he is whining to me and he just wants to take his ball and go hm….

  3. knowerofallthings says: Jun 18, 2012 5:20 PM

    All I hear from these guys is “see they didn’t prove we’re guilty” It’s not about proving their innonce but instead they want to get out with a technicality as ‘not guilty’.

  4. saintsfan26 says: Jun 18, 2012 5:24 PM

    In Fujita’s 9 years in the NFL, the man has been nothing short of a class act. Anybody who doesnt see that is blinded by hatred.

  5. diesel23 says: Jun 18, 2012 5:25 PM

    just shut up and serve your suspension, players like u taint the game of football

  6. fusion3450 says: Jun 18, 2012 5:26 PM

    why is that all some of you do is hate hate hate? like there is no way that just maybe the players are telling the truth. what proof have any of you seen? what the nfl told you? what espn told you?

  7. canadianvikingfaniii says: Jun 18, 2012 5:27 PM

    Of course he would say that, if the evidence blatantly pointed to him or at a lack of evidence. If everything points to their involvement they are still going to deny it. It is just like catching your kid in a lie, they just keep adding on the lies or sticking with the lie already in place.

  8. skinssweepgmen says: Jun 18, 2012 5:29 PM

    These players are getting from the league exactly what Florio got today in Pittsburgh.

  9. Dean Keaton says: Jun 18, 2012 5:30 PM

    It’s pretty obvious that all of the players (except Vilma today) have avoided actually saying that they didn’t do what is alleged, just that the evidence doesn’t say they did it.

    It’s also pretty clear that Roddy White is right, the NFLPA failed the players in negotiations last summer, and they should be pushing the union to negotiate changes instead of just bitching about the NFL following the procedures laid out in the CBA

  10. robf2010 says: Jun 18, 2012 5:33 PM

    The next CBA negotiation will be 10 times as acrimonious as the last one was. The commissioner has destroyed any trust the players may have had in him.

  11. schoolchoice2011 says: Jun 18, 2012 5:35 PM

    If my boss even thinks I did something that he viewed unfavorably he could fire me immediately without providing me with any evidence. At most I can ask him to review the situation or go over his head to his boss but that is about it. I’m not sure why the accused players are entitled to more protections than the common man. If these players don’t like being punished than they can go find work else where.

  12. billybats says: Jun 18, 2012 5:37 PM

    Drew Brees says he still hasn’t seen any evidence of wrongdoing.

  13. supermariojosh says: Jun 18, 2012 5:42 PM

    Man, this is the Roger Clemens trial part 2. Everyone knows the Saints are guilty and had a bounty program, but the league has no solid evidence to prove it. Just like everyone knows Clemens used HGH but managed to elude evidence. If the program doesn’t/didn’t exist, why aren’t Gregg Williams and Sean Payton fighting it to the death? Williams already admitted a program existed and apologized for it for crying out loud.

  14. thetooloftools says: Jun 18, 2012 5:44 PM

    Yea.. well … before these players scream too loud, they better think about the fact that Greg Williams could always walk into a hearing room and blow all their denial crap right out the window in order to be allowed to coach in the NFL again. These players need to shut up and take their lumps or if I was the commish and they raise too much cain, I would suspend them all for a year for lying about their innocence. Try taking that into a court of law you overpaid crying baby players. You’ll get stomped. If I were the NFL I would suspend you during the time it takes a court trial to come around to make sure you didn’t get hurt and could testify. YOU ALL GOT BUSTED. STOP BEING BABIES!!!!!!

  15. geauxsaintsforever says: Jun 18, 2012 5:46 PM

    All these descriptions of Goodell as “judge, jury, and executioner” are leaving one key part out. He’s actually judge, jury, executioner, and appellate judge

  16. citiciti says: Jun 18, 2012 5:48 PM

    Boo-Hoo!You got caught MAN UP and give it a rest.

  17. daveman8403 says: Jun 18, 2012 5:52 PM

    @thetoolotftools

    The NFLPA actually compelled the NFL to ask Williams to come. the NFL denied this.

  18. goodolebaghead says: Jun 18, 2012 5:59 PM

    Drew Brees…err…wait, EVERYONE wants an explanation. We’re waiting Roger…

  19. couchbasher says: Jun 18, 2012 6:05 PM

    Simple. Go to YouTube and search for the dirty hit he put on Steve smith

  20. bigwalt2990 says: Jun 18, 2012 6:09 PM

    The NFL has a standard. Goodell is not upholding that standard. Suspend him. Somehow.

  21. sfsaintsfan says: Jun 18, 2012 6:12 PM

    Oh, by the way, the Roman Harper “cart off” detailed in the “evidence” was actually a sack and forced fumble on Eli Manning.

    The term “cart off” was used in the same way the term “big play” would be used by most normal people. The offense was “carted off the field” because the defense forced a punt or forced a turnover. Gregg Williams was just a little more descriptive….

  22. chazzmon says: Jun 18, 2012 6:16 PM

    It’s a shame, I think this may sink the Saints especially if they can’t re-sign Brees. This bounty stuff has probably been around forever, the Saints took it too far and caught.

  23. porterhouse12 says: Jun 18, 2012 6:18 PM

    Stop worrying about evidence. Please just let me know if the NFL has violated the CBA procedures.

    NFLPA negotiated a terd of a deal. If the accused don’t like it, I guess they can seek employment outside the NFL.

    Florio (or anyone), technical question for you…can the NFLPA help pay for Vilma’s defamation lawsuit or provide any legal resources as a member of the Union?

  24. skolvikesskol says: Jun 18, 2012 6:22 PM

    When g williams realizes hes black listed next year, he will write a book titled ‘if i did it’ detailing how IF there was a bounty system, he, the team. The coaches and players would have done it

  25. dryzzt23 says: Jun 18, 2012 6:34 PM

    Since when does the Commissioner have to satisfy the curiosity of the accused? In this, players who have voluntarily signed rich contracts with the NFL.

    Goodell answers to the OWNERS, not the players. The NFL does not HAVE to provide “proof” to anybody.

    It is these same players who are guilty of running bounties, they know it but they are following the lead of the liberal media in the “corporation vs the little guy” scenario.

    Confess your guilt Fujita, Vilma, and the other players, then move on.

  26. 86chawk says: Jun 18, 2012 6:35 PM

    Ok….so basically everyone of the Saints front office and coaching staff admitted wrong doing but these players need proof??? Take your suspensions and shut up…you are looking more & more stupid by the minute!!

  27. commishgoodellknowsbest says: Jun 18, 2012 6:39 PM

    what is all the crying about judge, jury, executioner, appellate judge??
    The business owners that make up the NFL voted to have the rules in place and to put Roger Goodell in charge.
    Now the workers (players, coaches, trainers etc. ) dont have a vote in who heads up the company. Thats just the way it is. As the owners and commssioner in this case the have the right to put in place what ever system they feel will be in the best interest of the company.
    I am amazed that our courts are even wasting time and money on this. Quite honestly its none of their business.
    Two coaches have admitted this existed and the NFL doesnt have to show any evidence. Like it or not.
    If he owners dont like who is in charge they can vote him out.
    Stop Crying.

  28. drgreenstreak says: Jun 18, 2012 6:41 PM

    Guess the players will just sue themselves out of the existence of pro football. No more league(s) ever again. Too dangerous.

    Time to pay college players.

  29. federali says: Jun 18, 2012 6:59 PM

    The Vilma suspension being a year seems too much for me but it would help if the players didn’t sound like they were guilty. Fujita doesn’t indicate that he was never complicit but instead cries out that they have no proof.

    It’s not a court of law and they don’t have to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt. The NFLPA needs to fight for an alternate appeals process in the future.

  30. gingerkid2000 says: Jun 18, 2012 7:05 PM

    No matter what the evidence is or how much of the evidence is shown, losers will always make excuses for why it doesn’t prove anything. Williams speech = he was speaking figuratively. Hargrove shouting “Pay me my money” = it was just bravado. Ornstein’s email about $5000 for a hit on Rogers = he was just kidding. Vilma telling the players he’d pay someone $10,000 to take out Farve in Hargrove’s written statement = he never intended to actually pay it. Ledgers with players names and how much they get for whacks = doesn’t prove the money changed hands. And this is only a few that I’ve heard. Everything can be excused away. Problem is that’s a lot of excuses. And just like any employee (which is what they are) when you have an excuse for everything it gets tiresome. Which is what this is. These players, their attorneys and the players union could have handled all of this so much better by simply cooperating or taking their punishment like men. Instead more and more evidence will come out, they will make more excuses for why it all means nothing and just come across as bunch of spoiled brats who can’t own up to anything. I had sympathy for them at 1st because I thought the punishments were harsh but now I can’t sympathize with someone who just constantly makes excuses for everything.

  31. fusion3450 says: Jun 18, 2012 7:15 PM

    again i see more people saying the coaches admitted it…..NOOO THEY DID NOTTTTTT

  32. gingerkid2000 says: Jun 18, 2012 7:44 PM

    I guess what Payton actually meant was that he’s not “sorry” for anything and Payton & Loomis don’t take “full responsibility” for anything. After all, I know that when I’m not responsible for something I didn’t do I always tell everyone how sorry I am for it because that makes perfect sense.

  33. gridironmike says: Jun 18, 2012 8:20 PM

    If Roger Goodell had just suspended Payton and Vilma eight games each (like he should have done in the first place), today would have been the end of this nonsense. Appeals would have been heard and denied, and that would have been the end of it. No pending lawsuits, no further analysis by pundits, no further comments by fans/haters, no stories for or against the commissioner. No stories for or against the players association. No nothing.

    Sure, the players’ union agreed to let Goodell solve everything, and here we are today. The NFLPA agreed to this, but the fans didn’t. Again: THE FANS DIDN’T! If there are any fans out there of the Titans, Bills, Redskins, Jaguars or Rams who are gloating over this today, just think: this could have been your team. “Gregg Williams Hot Potato” has been going on for a long, long time. Way too long. And the damn thing blew up in the Saints’ lap. Boo hoo.

    Congratulations, other teams, and good luck this season. And if you think this tyrant of a commissioner is finished, guess again. Better hope your coaches don’t yell too loud. Better hope your players don’t get too fired up.

    And look forward to a lot more “Bounty” stories to come. Yawn. Is it September yet?

  34. cdkreb says: Jun 18, 2012 8:52 PM

    Yes you didn’t hear any of the evidence because you are holding your hands to your ears screaming “I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you” when you were offered to be shown the evidence.

  35. pancaketaco says: Jun 18, 2012 9:28 PM

    saintsfan26 says:

    “In Fujita’s 9 years in the NFL, the man has been nothing short of a class act. Anybody who doesnt see that is blinded by hatred.”

    Yeah watch this…real class act!!!

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