In lieu of picking apart one piece of bounty evidence, the NFL wants the NFLPA (and presumably anyone else with concerns or questions) to broaden the lens and look at all of the proof.
“If Mr. Smith speaks to the Commissioner, obviously, we listen to what he has to say and what his thinking is with great respect,” NFL executive V.P. and general counsel Jeff Pash said on Friday’s PFT Live, in response to the then-possibility that the NFLPA would ask that the investigation be started from scratch. (The NFLPA has since formally requested that the probe be done over.) “I wish that [Smith] would have come to the hearing on Monday because he would have seen how earnest an effort the Commissioner personally made to have the players comment and tell him what their side of the story is.
“I think [Smith] would have been very impressed by the presentation Mary Jo White made,” Pash added. “De, as a former federal prosecutor, knows Mary Jo. I am sure he holds her in the same high regard that lawyers and judges across the country hold her and understands what a consummate professional she is. He would have had an opportunity to see the evidence and hear the witness statements and how it all weaves together, which is how a good prosecutor puts a case up. It is a mosaic. Focusing on any one piece of the mosaic may not tell you very much. When you put it all together, it paints quite a clear picture. If De had been able to be here Monday and participate in the hearing, he would have a different view perhaps than what he has today.”
It’s a very good explanation, but it’s unlikely De Smith would feel differently if he had attended the hearing. This controversy have devolved into a red state/blue state exercise in heel-digging, and the parties have reached diametrically opposed conclusions based on the same pieces of evidence. Even though Smith didn’t attend, he surely has studied the transcript of the hearing, and based on his request that the investigation be scrapped and re-started Smith still believes that the investigation has serious flaws.
At this point, nothing the NFL says would change De’s mind, and nothing De or anyone else from the NFLPA says would change the league’s mind.
If you’re not inclined to take in the full interview with Jeff Pash, perhaps we can change your mind by making the video immediately available below. And if you don’t care to watch and listen to the comments, the NFL has done the watching and the listening long enough to type up a full transcript of the session.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!