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Saints players issue statement in advance of bounty appeal

Scott Fujita AP

Three members of the 2009 Saints involved in today’s bounty appeal hearing have issued a statement, which was just distributed by the NFL Players Association.

The statement, sent in the names of Scott Fujita (now with the Browns), Anthony Hargrove (now with the Packers), and Will Smith, uses strong language in advance of their meeting with Roger Goodell.

The statement of the text in full:

“We have purportedly been disciplined by the Commissioner for alleged activities that the National Football League has grossly misrepresented to the public.

“We are in attendance today not because we recognize the Commissioner’s jurisdiction to adjudicate regarding these specious allegations, but because we believe the League would attempt to publicly mischaracterize our refusal to attend. We will not address the substance of the NFL’s case because this is not the proper venue for adjudication, and there has been no semblance of due process afforded to us.

“As veteran players of 11, 9 and 9 years in this League, we are profoundly disappointed with the NFL’s conduct in this matter. We know what the NFL has publicly said we did, and the Commissioner has chosen to try to punish us and disparage our characters based on semantics, not facts. Words are cheap and power is fleeting.

“Shame on the National Football League and Commissioner Goodell for being more concerned about ‘convicting’ us publicly than being honorable and fair to men who have dedicated their professional lives to playing this game with honor.”

 Strong words, and there will likely be more after the hearing.  Stay tuned.
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35 Responses to “Saints players issue statement in advance of bounty appeal”
  1. thejuddstir says: Jun 18, 2012 10:10 AM

    “We will not address the substance of the NFL’s case because this is not the proper venue for adjudication……” these boys talk about “semantics”????? that’s all i’ve heard from them and their lawyers. they chose not to attend the original hearing and offer up evidence of their innocence and now they decide to play to the court of public opinion again with their appeals. The NFLPA voluntarily gave Goodell the power he has by their signing of the new CBA but now they claim they don’t want to follow that agreement, don’t want to take advantage of the opportunity to offer evidence at their original hearing nor now at their appeals hearing……I have no sympathy for these boys who claim to play a man’s game. They may think the penalties are too harsh but bottom line is they were determined to have got caught cheating. If you get a speeding ticket, you are automatically deemed guilty and it is up to you to show up for court and to offer evidence to prove your innocence. Crying to the media and the public is not proof of innocence.

  2. saints25 says: Jun 18, 2012 10:13 AM

    Documentary filmmaker Sean Pamphilon says he sat in a New Orleans Saints defensive meeting in January as former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams announced $200 cash awards for so-called “whack” hits.

    Yet for all the tough talk he heard from Williams about brutalizing San Francisco 49ers targets,Pamphilon isn’t convinced the Saints operated the pay-to-injure bounty system that led to the suspension of four players.

    “This whole thing has been a joke,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t think the players should be punished,unless they can actually prove it.”

  3. sb44champs says: Jun 18, 2012 10:15 AM

    Its about dam time!!! GODell convicted these players in the court of public opinion and now the tables are finally starting to turn!!

  4. thejuddstir says: Jun 18, 2012 10:18 AM

    The insistence that what these players did was a “Pay for Performance” vs. “bounty” is the perfect example of a game of “semantics”. Perhaps other teams were doing it too, maybe all of the other 3 teams were but regardless, 32 wrongs don’t make a right. The Saints didn’t help themselves by how dirty they played throughout the 2009 playoffs for all the country to see.

  5. captatl says: Jun 18, 2012 10:19 AM

    Once again, these guys are being made to look foolish by their counsel. Counsel can not get it through their heads that the only due process in this case has been followed to the letter of the CBA. This is not a legal matter and the rules of law are not applicable. The rules in this case are the ones that the players agreed to and signed off on, then the Union filed greivances as to the CBA and lost. The entire process is exactly as drawn out in the CBA. They gave Goodell this power, and everyone in the league had better keep their nose clean. He means business, and can run his business as he sees fit.

  6. sb44champs says: Jun 18, 2012 10:22 AM

    “If you get a speeding ticket, you are automatically deemed guilty and it is up to you to show up for court and to offer evidence to prove your innocence.”
    —————————————
    Yeah, but this is more like if YOU are the only one to get a speeding ticket even though everyone else speeds every day….but they only want to make an example out of YOU and only YOU… everyone else gets a free ride!!!

  7. coltsluckdynasty says: Jun 18, 2012 10:23 AM

    Wow, caught, and still blaming everyone buy themselves. What a bunch of BS. I am glad these cowards will be suspended, and vilma, shut up already, nobody cares about you….. You got 99 problems, and playing football this year ain’t one!!!!

  8. darthsaint says: Jun 18, 2012 10:29 AM

    They are screwed and they know it. Like walking into a room with a firing squad.

    They just hope some people, including fans of the NFL, have half a brain and can see what has been done here. Obviously the majority of posters on this site will simply spit venom since their thought processes don’t go further than “I hate the Saints.”

    But from my conversations with average NFL fans in person, not the keyboard warriors on here. I’ve only met a couple who think the NFL handled this the right way. Most, surprisingly to me, think the NFL completely railroaded the Saints organization as their fall guy. Which for me, as a Saints fan, has been at least somewhat “an ease to the pain.”

    I like any normal NFL fan, am ready for all of this to just move on. I feel for the players and because I do think they were used. But they unfortunately had a lawyer running their union who was not smart enough to ensure this type of legalese was not in the past CBA. And he simply failed the players in that regard. It inst a mistake the NFL wants this type of control. Imagine if this process had been 100% fair and transparent. It already would have completely blown up in their faces. Instead, since they control each point completely, they can maneuver the fans, media, and anyone else involved, to see only what they want you to see.

  9. cdsaints says: Jun 18, 2012 10:31 AM

    @thejuddstir

    “Proof of innocence”

    A novel concept, also favored by the perpetrators of such memorable events as the Salem Witch Trials, and The Spanish Inquisition. Come to think of it, this “bounty” fiasco would fit in quite nicely with those two.

    Your speeding ticket analogy is 100% wrong. You are NOT automatically presumed guilty. You may choose to plead not guilty, at which point the officer who cited you must present to the court evidence of your guilt. You may refute that evidence (good luck), but refuting evidence of guilt and providing “proof of innocence” are two entirely different things.

    Fuhrer Goodell has so far provided ZERO evidence for the claims he is making.

  10. raidafan7 says: Jun 18, 2012 10:38 AM

    Cheating? In your words exactly how did they cheat? Did they bring weapons on the field? Did they illegally hit anyone? Did they injure anyone with an illegal hit? Did they stomp on anyone after the whistle? They pooled money from mental errors, self imposed team fines and dispersed the money for big plays and big hits within the rules of the game. If you consider that a season long suspension then you have a problem. If your team were the scapegoat you would feel the same way. By the way, your favorite team does the same thing, your coach points out injuries, your coach wants to knock out every QB they play.

  11. thingamajig says: Jun 18, 2012 10:44 AM

    Goodell: Tell me why you think you are not guilty.

    Players: “We will not address the substance of the NFL’s case because this is not the proper venue for adjudication, and there has been no semblance of due process afforded to us.”

    Goodell: Per the CBA, and the power vested in me, guilty as charged.

  12. dagodevil says: Jun 18, 2012 10:47 AM

    I think if 4 game suspensions were given at the onset to everone involved there would have been no controversy. Coaches and players alike. No one, not even saints fans, would have said boo. The underlying problem here is that the punishment didn’t fit the crime. Goodell, are you saying that its worse to motivate the troops than it is to be accused of rape twice (Rothlisberger) kill and mame 100’s of animals , run a gamling ring (vick) Together these two didnt add up to a full year suspension. Used to be, you could get caught with felonious cocaine possesion and a couple of hookers (M. Irvin) and show up to court in a full length fur pimp coat; only get 5 games.

  13. daysend564 says: Jun 18, 2012 10:48 AM

    Easy to discern Stains fans from non-Stains fans when reading comments (even beyond screen names).

  14. 7ransponder says: Jun 18, 2012 10:53 AM

    sb44champs says:Jun 18, 2012 10:22 AM

    “If you get a speeding ticket, you are automatically deemed guilty and it is up to you to show up for court and to offer evidence to prove your innocence.”
    —————————————
    Yeah, but this is more like if YOU are the only one to get a speeding ticket even though everyone else speeds every day….but they only want to make an example out of YOU and only YOU… everyone else gets a free ride!!!
    ———————————
    Uhhh, you realize this happens all the time right? People who get off with warnings versus the ones that actually get tickets. Hint: The people who get off with warnings often tell the TRUTH when asked if they were speeding, instead of trying to cover it up. Couldn’t have thought of a better anlogy if I tried, thanks for that, unwittingly appropriate Saints fan!

  15. anarchopurplism says: Jun 18, 2012 10:54 AM

    Yeah, and Hargrove was “just kidding” when he said “PAY ME MY MONEY!”

    Um, the 1990s called…..it wants its legal defense strategy back. We know what the word is, is. Liars….

  16. cdsaints says: Jun 18, 2012 10:59 AM

    7ransponder says:
    “Couldn’t have thought of a better anlogy if I tried”

    I can believe that!

    Thanks for putting your stupidity on display for all to see, unwittingly appropriate Goodell supporter

  17. daveman8403 says: Jun 18, 2012 11:07 AM

    anarchopurplism says:
    Jun 18, 2012 10:54 AM
    Yeah, and Hargrove was “just kidding” when he said “PAY ME MY MONEY!”

    Um, the 1990s called…..it wants its legal defense strategy back. We know what the word is, is. Liars….

    ——————————————————————————————————–

    You have proof that hargrove said that? NO you don’t. actually they don’t know who said it, and it is speculated that it was actually someone in the stands. Hardgrove wasn’t even the person who was accused of it. It’s this same misinformation going around that people are getting their “facts” from.

  18. thejuddstir says: Jun 18, 2012 11:19 AM

    sb44champs says:Jun 18, 2012 10:22 AM

    “If you get a speeding ticket, you are automatically deemed guilty and it is up to you to show up for court and to offer evidence to prove your innocence.”
    —————————————
    Yeah, but this is more like if YOU are the only one to get a speeding ticket even though everyone else speeds every day….but they only want to make an example out of YOU and only YOU… everyone else gets a free ride!!!
    ————————————————-
    Using your example…..does that make YOU any less guilty of speeding and thus breaking the law? I didn’t think so.

  19. sb44champs says: Jun 18, 2012 11:20 AM

    “Uhhh, you realize this happens all the time right? People who get off with warnings versus the ones that actually get tickets.”
    ———————————
    You missed my entire point…. Don’t you think it would totally suck if nobody else in the ENTIRE WORLD got a speeding ticket but YOU and only YOU even though lots of people speed in the world but YOU ARE THE FALL GUY and the only name that gets smeared is YOURS in the entire world… now go back to kindergarten!!!!!!!!

  20. kidpresentable says: Jun 18, 2012 11:22 AM

    Remember when the NFL had a voicemail and an explicit photo sent via text which both came from the same phone linked to Brett Favre? Favre admitted the voicemail was from him, but denied the text (though they came from the same phone). Remember when two massage therapists came forward with more bad messages from Favre? It sure looked bad for Mr. Favre, yet the crack team of NFL investigators could only come down on Favre for “obstructing” the investigation.

    The NFL has audio of Williams. We have video of Hargrove bragging about Favre being out. We have video of hits on Favre and Warner. We have e-mails from people tied to the Saints offering money to the pool. We have admissions from the suspended coaches that an illegal program was going on. We have a ledger showing payments. Presumably, there’s likely a whistle blower who will remain anonymous. We have people on Williams’ previous teams saying a similar system was in place there. We have stats that show the Saints consistently were among the league leaders in unnecessary roughness and roughing the passer penalties.

    It sure seems like something was going on, but if it’s anything like the Favre case, the NFL will screw this up.

  21. atekipp says: Jun 18, 2012 11:24 AM

    If you get a speeding ticket, you are automatically deemed guilty and it is up to you to show up for court and to offer evidence to prove your innocence. Crying to the media and the public is not proof of innocence.

    ————————————–

    Some of you guys are really dumb. You do realize that the burden of proof on a traffic citation is on the officer who wrote the citation? Why do you think most traffic citations are thrown out if you show up to court and the cop is not present to testify to the accuracy of what is accused against you.

    This whole bounty thing has not only exposed how hypocritical and sinister the NFL really is, it has also exposed how stupid the majority of the NFL football viewing public really is…

  22. sb44champs says: Jun 18, 2012 11:25 AM

    “Using your example…..does that make YOU any less guilty of speeding and thus breaking the law? I didn’t think so.”
    ————————————
    No, and it doesn’t make the other 31 teams that, per the former and existing NFL players, have done the EXACT SAME THING over the years any less guilty as well!!!

  23. goodolebaghead says: Jun 18, 2012 11:27 AM

    I think the speeding ticket analogy would work better if you said, “They got caught speeding, and were thrown in prison for a year, because the cop claimed they were attempting to run people over, without any proof.”

  24. dolphinsrule65 says: Jun 18, 2012 11:30 AM

    First off, Not a Saints lover or Hater, not in my division, so I have no real interest in them.
    Second being a casual fan, My 2 cents worth.
    What I think is, that alot of you forgot that the 2 coaches in this incident both said Yes, this happened, sorry,period. Now is that guilt or not?
    Also think what alot of people forget too is that, there does not EVER have to been a penny exchanged between players for there to be a SYSTEM in place that PROMOTED this kind of system. The fact is the coaches, organization all admitted that yes we ran somekind of pay for hit system and lied about it. If i was being sued such as The Commsioner is,why would i let out any information? ie: The smoking gun? The whole system was agreed to by the players, if they did not like the system, why did the agree to it again?
    The only ones who gain anything from this dragging on is the Lawyers, as always.
    Does the punishment for the whole thing seem stiff, yes, so that too me means there is a whole lot more to it then we have been told or shown. Why did the owner not fight harder for his players, GM or coaches..they did not go get a lawyer and sue and fight, why not? Maybe because they know a whole lot more then we do folks. Sometimes the old saying “be careful what you wish for (evidence) you very well may get it and wish you never did”!

  25. thejuddstir says: Jun 18, 2012 11:35 AM

    Gotta laugh at all these legal pundits who defend the Stains actions with off the wall comments that infer they have inside knowledge or have seen the leagues “evidence” and thus are qualified to say the Stains got railroaded, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, yada yada yada. Here are the FACTS as we fans know them. League did their investigation, league has their evidence, league handed out punishments, NFLPA agreed with latest CBA. Here’s the players and Stain’s fans “evidence”(sic), no one has ever been seriously maimed or killed, it wasn’t a bounty system but a “pay for performance system”, it wasn’t a bounty system but just payin’ for “whacks”, this is an unfair court system (never mind that we agreed to it just a few months ago with the new CBA), the players said they didn’t do it, the punishment doesn’t fit the crime (how the hell do you know if it does or doesn’t when you don’t know chit about what evidence the league has), we were one of the worst defenses in the league so how the hell could be have a bounty system, drew brees still hasn’t received his explanation, the players didn’t accept the money because they kept putting it back into the kitty to get it to grow, Hargrove’s comments after knocking Favre out of the game “where’s my money, pay me” were obviously taken out of context LMAO, Vilma on tape offering $10G means the tape was spliced together, Payton,Vitt, Tom Benson, Williams all admitting and apologizing and accepting their punishments like real men doesn’t mean a thing as they were brainwashed, yada yada yada…………..I have seen and heard more evidence from the league (and absolutely none from the players other than a bunch of word games like whack instead of bounty, or pay for performance) that the players should be punished…….to what degree is subjective and for the time being, I will side with the league and Goodell that the evidence they have apparently warrants the degree of punishment.

  26. thebiglabreeski says: Jun 18, 2012 11:44 AM

    captatl says: “This is not a legal matter and the rules of law are not applicable. The rules in this case are the ones that the players agreed to and signed off on, then the Union filed greivances as to the CBA and lost. The entire process is exactly as drawn out in the CBA. They gave Goodell this power, and everyone in the league had better keep their nose clean. He means business, and can run his business as he sees fit.”

    ———————————————————
    I say: You have the intellect of a Jersey Shore castmember. You would be the dumb one they all bag on. You do realize that they do not work for goodell, that he doesn’t sign their paychecks, don’t you? Imbecilic point.

    In which backwards@$$ county do you live, where the rule of law is ever not applicable. Learn your rights as an american. The cba is a LEGAL CONTRACT, which, by nature of its very existence, is overseen by the rules of law. If a moron like you were to sign a legal labor contract enslaving yourself to your employer, would this contract, which violates your rights (14th amen.), need to be honored because your signature was on it? The REAL law, supercedes any binding contract, including labor/union laws.

    I’d actually respect trolls like you, at least a minuscule amount, if you just posted a comment saying “I don’t know my @$$ from a whole in the ground, but I don’t like the Juggernaut that is the saints franchise, because they keep beating my team.”

  27. daveman8403 says: Jun 18, 2012 11:57 AM

    @dolphinrules65

    NO TWO COACHES DID NOT SAY THIS HAPPENED. why do people keep saying this? If you don’t realize there is a huge difference between pay-for-perfromance and pay-to-injure, then you should not be posting here.

    The GM and coaches DID fight back with the only way they could, and appeal backto Goodell. they have no other recourse if they want to coach again. Their suspension letters stated that any further discussion or fighting this any further could result in a larger punishment. The point is, the players have the NFLPA, the coaches do not. you evidently do not know much about this scandal because it seems you are lacking many vital points.

  28. miles58a says: Jun 18, 2012 11:58 AM

    thejuddstir says:

    they chose not to attend the original hearing and offer up evidence of their innocence and now they decide to play to the court of public opinion again with their appeals

    ————————————————–

    How do you prove that you did not do it. If they are telling the truth there would be no physical evidence. All they got is other players in the locker room to say they did not do it, but Goodell does not want to hear the other players. Yea I agree with Goodell being able to hand out the punishment, but he should have to show proof to someone with the NFLPA. No one should have to get that type of fines and punshment without seeing proof

  29. zn0rseman says: Jun 18, 2012 12:03 PM

    The fact that these guys are all hiding behind lawyers and statements written by lawyers in baloney CYA legalease is very telling to anyone who isn’t wearing gold and black blinders.

    Also, those of you contending that because other teams MIGHT be doing the same thing doesn’t make it okay that YOUR team is doing it. The type of unsportsmanlike conduct shown by the Saints, needs to be eliminated from football with extreme prejudice, everywhere that it exists.

    I applaud Goodall in this case for making an example out of these guys.

  30. daveman8403 says: Jun 18, 2012 12:24 PM

    HIDING BEHIND LAWYERS?!!! are you kidding me? what idiot would go into a meeting with other lawyers accusing them of something they claim innocence of without representation?

    NO, they are not using the excuse that other are doing it. they are saying THEY DID NOT. dude get out of here. it has become apparent that this whole thing is a sham. half the evidence Goodell gave them Friday didn’t even exists when he handed out punishments. furthermore, that same evidence actually helps the saints case (e.g. interview with scott shanle says that it was there was no intent to injure other players).

    please show me this unsportsmanlike conduct. NO ONE has seen evidence of any.

  31. daveman8403 says: Jun 18, 2012 12:29 PM

    @thejuddstir says:

    Where are you getting your fact? most of that is untrue.

  32. daveman8403 says: Jun 18, 2012 12:36 PM

    @thejuddstir says “Hargrove’s comments after knocking Favre out of the game “where’s my money, pay me” were obviously taken out of context LMAO, Vilma on tape offering $10G means the tape was spliced together, Payton,Vitt, Tom Benson, Williams all admitting and apologizing and accepting their punishments like real men doesn’t mean a thing as they were brainwashed, yada yada yada…………..I have seen and heard more evidence from the league (and absolutely none from the players other than a bunch of word games like whack instead of bounty, or pay for performance) that the players should be punished…….to what degree is subjective and for the time being, I will side with the league and Goodell that the evidence they have apparently warrants the degree of punishment.”

    ————————————————————————————————–

    Hargrove wasn’t even the one accused of saying”where’s my money”. furthermore, they don’t know who said and there is speculation that it was from the stands. SHOW ME the video of vilma offering 10K. there is none, don’t know where you got that. Payton, Loomis, witt, and williams have NEVER admitted/apologized to a pay-for-injury program. Payton, Loomis, and Vitt DID fight it. they have no further recourse if they wish to coach again.

    as far as showing proof you didn’t do something. try the following example.

    I am accusing you of murder. Prove to me you never murdered anyone.

    Can’t do it huh? that is because it is almost impossible to prove a negative. that is why in fair justice system, the burden of proof is always on the accuser and not the accused.

  33. zn0rseman says: Jun 18, 2012 3:19 PM

    daveman8403 says:
    please show me this unsportsmanlike conduct. NO ONE has seen evidence of any.

    ——————-

    How about Brett Favre getting blasted after handing the football off during the 2009 NFC Title game?

    How about the high-low hit that broke his ankle?

    How about the play where Hargrove “pulverized” Favre on a late hit and openly celebrated Favre’s injury?

    All of those are textbook examples of unsportsmanlike conduct with intent to injure. You are flat out blind with ignorance if you can’t see that.

  34. ftcsubs says: Jun 18, 2012 5:36 PM

    they are guilty, they know they are guilty. but they know the NFL will not give up thier sources. they want the NFL to give up the players that squeled so in the future players will not do the right thing and tell the truth. some people might have been disgusted with the bounty systems and said so. do you think the coaches like not having a job. they owned up and took their medicine. do you think greg williams will ever get hired agian anywhere to coach. if he was inocent dont you think he would fight it. all the NFLPA is trying to do is force the NFL to give up the squellers names. which I am glad they have not.

  35. xakle says: Jun 19, 2012 12:10 AM

    zn0rseman says:
    Jun 18, 2012 3:19 PM

    How about Brett Favre getting blasted after handing the football off during the 2009 NFC Title game?

    How about the high-low hit that broke his ankle?

    How about the play where Hargrove “pulverized” Favre on a late hit and openly celebrated Favre’s injury?

    All of those are textbook examples of unsportsmanlike conduct with intent to injure. You are flat out blind with ignorance if you can’t see that.

    ——————-

    The Colts did the same thing to Mark Sanchez twice that same day. No one said a peep about that. Apparently only the Saints have dirty hits in this league.

    Each hit on the high-low by themselves were legal. The hit as a whole was also legal one year earlier. There’s no way those players could time that to purposely hit him that way… it just happened.

    And “pulverized” you mean hit him square in the chest right when he released the ball? That was a clean hit.

    These are all examples of Football. Football being played by two teams that haven’t been anywhere near the Super Bowl before that wanted to get there. Vikings were physical. Saints were physical.

    Vikings fans just cried too much afterwards and people wanted to see Favre in the Super Bowl as one last hoorah. No one cared about the Saints… so enough with the “Feel good story, we wanted to see you guys there.” Bull crap. Everyone wanted to see the Colts win two weeks later. No one cared about the Saints except for Saints fans.

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