There have been a few remarkable claims made in the five-plus weeks since the NFL first announced the discovery of a three-year bounty program in the Saints organization. From Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2009, now comes perhaps the most remarkable.
Jenkins contends that Saints players haven’t had a chance to tell their side of the story.
“I think especially being a defensive player the most upsetting things is just not really being able to have a voice yet,” Jenkins told WWL radio, via SportsRadioInterviews.com. “To hear the media and fans and everything that is going on and hear so much stuff being said about our character and what type of people we are and not having an opportunity to tell our side of the story is probably the most frustrating thing and we won’t have that opportunity until all of the punishment and everything is done, but right now we are weathering the storm trying to stay busy and keep our minds off of it. We can’t control anything that is going on right now. All we can do is sit and wait and when that time comes we’ll have the opportunity to speak our minds and really try to save face I guess, but right now all we can do is focus on what we can and that’s being ready for the season and I think guys are excited to start back up next week.”
But nothing prevents Jenkins or any other player from telling their side of the story now. Plenty of media outlets would surely bring a satellite truck to their houses, today, if Jenkins or Jonathan Vilma or Will Smith or anyone else wants to talk.
Of course, there’s a chance that none are talking now on direct advice from the NFLPA and/or outside legal counsel. But the players can disregard that advice and talk, if they truly want to tell their side of the story.
And if they choose to heed that advice, they’ve got no reason to express frustration. Protecting their interests in a court of law (and/or in the NFL’s internal appeal process) at the expense of their interests in the court of public opinion is a judgment call that only the players can make. For now, they’re choosing the former. Any time they want to choose the latter, they can.