03-08-2012, 10:52 AM
NFLPA WANTS NFL TO FACILITATE INTERVIEWS WITH SAINTS' EMPLOYEES (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d827745e2/article/nflpa-wants-nfl-to-facilitate-interviews-with-saints-employees)

"The NFL Players Association released a
statement Wednesday saying it wants "sufficient time" to do its own review of <a id="yui_3_4_1_1_1331221700203_351" href="http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d82757bcd" target="_blank">the league's
report</a> that the New Orleans Saints (/teams/neworleanssaints/profile?team=NO) had a
"bounty" system in place from 2009 to 2011.

One of the NFLPA's goals is to find out whether Saints coaches and management
engaged in "coercive activities" to pressure players into participating in the
program. An NFL investigation found defensive players were rewarded monetarily
for making big plays and trying to injure opponents.</p>

The NFLPA cited admissions by Saints management and coaches that the
pay-for-performance program existed as evidence "they engaged in improper and
coercive activities."</p>

New Orleans coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis <a id="yui_3_4_1_1_1331221700203_354" href="http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d8276b3b6" target="_blank">issued a joint
statement</a> Tuesday acknowledging and taking full responsibility for the
violations. Former Saints and current Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams,
the central figure in the bounty scandal, also admitted to his role in wrongful
activity via a statement released by the Rams Friday.</p>

The NFL declined to respond to the NFLPA's Wednesday statement.</p>

A league source said the NFL's investigation into the matter is ongoing. The
NFLPA also asked the NFL to facilitate interviews with current and former Saints
employees. Because both things will take time, it is unknown if NFL Commissioner
Roger Goodell will administer discipline before March 26, when league meetings
begin in Palm Beach, Fla., <a id="yui_3_4_1_1_1331221700203_355" href="http://www.nfl.com/goto?id=09000d5d82764845" target="_blank">as had
previously been reported</a>.</p>

</p><div id="yui_3_4_1_1_1331221700203_134" class="articleText">

The NFL has not set a timeframe for deciding on penalties. In addition to
Saints management, the league's months-long investigation implicated between 22
and 27 players.</p>

Whatever punishment comes down is expected to be severe, possibly including
fines, suspensions and the loss of draft picks. The league cited Payton, Loomis,
Williams and the Saints with "conduct detrimental" to the NFL's constitution and
bylaws. It also faulted them for failing to stop the bounty activity and
allowing it to happen in the first place, as well as failing to fully cooperate
with the league's initial investigation in early 2010.</p>

A league official said involved players will also face serious

Goodell has stressed safety during his time in charge, fining and suspending
players for failing to comply with the league's policies. Rules have been
changed or more strictly enforced to prevent violent and dangerous hits in an
effort to preserve players' short- and long-term health. The issue was also
central to last summer's labor dispute between players and owners.</p>

The NFLPA said that if it finds that players willingly participated in
"conduct that jeopardized head and safety," it would work with the players and
the NFL to put in place additional safeguards to prevent such behavior in the

"Dangerous play and acts on the field by players intended to injure have no
place in football," the statement read. "We must do better to ensure that this
activity is not a part of our game."</p></div>

03-08-2012, 10:55 AM
This is a slippery slope for the NFLPA. On the one hand they have publicly taken a position supporting player safety. They will now also be in a position to defend any players accused by the NFL of improper conduct.