NFLPA questions Mary Jo White’s role in Panthers investigation

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The NFL has hired Mary Jo White to handle the investigation regarding workplace misconduct allegations against Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. The man who runs the NFL Players Association has concerns about that.

“If it’s true that Mary Jo White is involved in the current investigation of the Panthers, I have a question because I know that she falsely accused players in Bounty[gate],” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith recently told ESPN, referring to the 2012 controversy arising from claims that Saints players were involved in giving each other inducements to injure opponents. “And things that she said to the press were either knowingly untrue or there came a time when we all knew they weren’t true.”

Smith is correct. The league hired White to provide, ostensibly, the appearance of independence in the review and presentation of the evidence against the Saints players. And she pushed to the media a grossly inaccurate characterization of sideline video that supposedly provided the league with a smoking gun.

“So at the very least, it seems to me that the league as a whole and their partners, the players, deserve to have the results of the investigation of the Panthers released publicly before the sale,” Smith said. “And that’s simply because, if the premise of the personal conduct policy is the integrity of the league, why shouldn’t we have the same level of transparency that occurs in player investigations occur here?”

The disparity between the league’s handling of players accused of wrongdoing and owners accused of wrongdoing has become a frequent subject of discussion and attention for Smith, and for good reason. If players will be held to a high standard of conduct — one that sparks investigations and discipline even in the absence of formal criminal or civil charges — the owners need to be held to that same standard.

Although the league would likely rattle off White’s accomplishments and offices (she’s the former chairman of the SEC) to justify its ongoing reliance on her, the skewed assessment of the evidence in the bounty case should disqualify her from any further involvement in league investigations. Whether deliberate or negligent, the misrepresentation of the evidence in a way that supported the league’s predetermined outcome in the prior case means that she possibly will deliberately or negligently misrepresent evidence in a way that supports the league’s predetermined outcome in the Panthers case, if the league has a predetermined outcome in mind.

Multiple past cases would suggest that it does.

14 responses to “NFLPA questions Mary Jo White’s role in Panthers investigation

  1. Yeah, and they also denied Science… and screwed Incognito, when Incognito thought that he and Martin were friends.

  2. Americans have really lowered the bar when it comes to ethics and morals. The NFL is strictly for our entertainment. I don’t hold the league to a higher standard than I do the folks running our country. We’ve really scraped the bottom of the barrel. The swamp is overflowing. I’m really not losing any sleep over anything Mary Jo White is doing.

  3. No offense but no one even debates that bounties were paid, at all. You found it “grossly inaccurate,” but no one even denies it happened. The world has moved on.

    Just because you don’t like the outcome doesn’t make it untrue.

  4. Sure, the ‘independent’ investigation is looking like another one that is anything but. What I dont understand is why this is even a surprise any more.

  5. Mr. Florio is spot on…despite being the US Attorney for the heralded
    Southern District of Manhattan, Ms. White role in the bounty-gate makes
    her highly suspect. In the bounty gate investigation White presided over a
    sloppy, factually inaccurate, rush to judgement. She publicly annouced her
    Inaccurate findings which brought futher harm to the players involved.
    What puzzles me is the continued use of Ms. White who was also involved
    in the suspect Elliot case, where the only NFL investigator, a very experienced
    investigator, who after 3 face to face interviews and 2 Phone conferences,
    reported to Ms. White and others on the investigative committee, that the
    victim had no credibility. AAnd recommended that no suspension for Elliot.
    The committee then have Elliot the max.
    One other fact is bothersome, why continue to use Ms. White, and not
    take advantage of Paul Tagliabue as a hearing officer? A review of Mr. Taglibue’s
    experience in labor issues, his background with a top New York firm and his
    extensive experience as Commisioner is unprecedented. To ignore and not use
    Tagliabue while continuing to use White is puzzling at best, but it is also an example
    of Goodell’s weakness to admit he can be wrong at times.

  6. That’s how the world works. Power has a different set of rules. We have zero investigation from the house side of Congress, because they’re too busy covering up. The NFL is no different. They hold the power, they create rules beneficial to management. It’s hypocrisy, yes, but power doesn’t care.

  7. No, let her stay. Since the Saints got unfairly punished, the least we could get is the division rival Panthers suffering the same fate.

  8. In the so-called “Bounty gate” Goodell was looking to turn attention away from himself and the NFL regarding player injuries, so he fabricated the Saints as a safety villain. Mary Jo was his side-kick in trying to fabricate false evidence. Fortunately the Saints players were proven to be innocent of Goodell’s accusations, but coach Payton was still unfairly suspended for a year and the owner was still fined half a million dollars. The Panthers should pay close attention to these same tactics directed at them and be prepared to put up a strong legal fight. Goodell and his crew are not to be trusted.

  9. maverick2560, you make valid points, but you also answer your own questions. The NFL has no interest in Tagliabue, because he rules fairly. The NFL/Goodell wants to hand pick people favorable to their interests, and that’s just the bottom line. If the NFL wanted to prove that water wasn’t wet, they would hire some moron that would testify he believes water is not wet, and then they would conclude, based on one hired gun’s testimony that water wasn’t wet, and deem all others “not credible”…

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