4 players file bounty appeals to NFL
The four players were implicated in what the NFL said was a bounty pool run by former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and paid improper cash bonuses for hits that injured opponents. The players have acknowledged a pool but denied they intended to injure anyone. Goodell has been unmoved by the players’ distinction regarding intent, outlining several instances in which Williams made notations of player rewards due for hits that knocked opponents out of games.
Williams, now with St. Louis, has cooperated with the league’s investigation but is currently suspended indefinitely. Saints head coach Sean Payton is suspended for the season, general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games and assistant head coach Joe Vitt six games. They were punished separately from the players and all are serving out their punishment.
By contrast, the players and their union have put up intense resistance for the past half-year with no sign of letting up.
Even after his suspension was reduced this week, Fujita was harshly critical of Goodell, calling the “condescending tone” of his disciplinary letter unproductive, accusing the commissioner of misusing his power and questioning Goodell’s record on player safety.
“The commissioner says he is disappointed in me,” Fujita said Wednesday. “The truth is, I’m disappointed in him.”