As the NFL continues to insist that the four players suspended for the Saints’ bounties were deeply involved in a program that flagrantly flouted the rules, one of those players says he’s fed up with the NFL inaccurately portraying him.
Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, who is suspended for the first three games of this season because the league says he was instrumental in the bounty program during his time with the Saints, told the Associated Press that the information the NFL is peddling publicly is bogus.
“I’m not saying the NFL is intentionally lying,” Fujita said. “I’ve been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they may have just been working with the information they’ve been given, even though much of that information was inaccurate and lacked credibility. It’s their cavalier interpretation of everything that’s been way off. They clearly proceeded with a public smear campaign with very little regard for the truth.”
The NFL continues to insist that Fujita put money into a pool that rewarded other Saints players for “cart-offs” and “knockouts,” but Fujita says he has far too much respect for his fellow players to encourage intentionally injuring an opponent. And Fujita pointed to his history of standing up to the NFL on issues of player safety as evidence that he wouldn’t do what the NFL says he did.
“I’ve had a few concussions myself. I have a dear friend [former Saints teammate Steve Gleason] who has ALS. I have a friend and former mentor [Lew Bush] who died earlier this year. Then there was the tragic death of someone I’ve admired for so long, Junior Seau,” Fujita said. “I can’t say for sure that all of these things happened because of football, but I’ve seen enough to have some concerns. I was elected to fight for these men, so in no way do I regret that.”
And now Fujita thinks, after he stood up to the league, that the NFL is smearing him.