NFLPA ADVISING BOUNTY-GATE PLAYERS THEY COULD FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES
"With New Orleans coach Sean Payton appealing his year-long suspension to NFL commissioner Roger
Goodell, a hearing that will occur Tuesday, there are other worries for those who were
involved with the Saints bounty program. True legal worries,
According to the AP, the NFLPA has told the players involved in the case that
they could face criminal charges and that the union has hired outside counsel
just in case.
The NFLPA has suggested to those players that when they're
interviewed by the NFL, they should have a lawyer and a union representative
with them.<table class="data mRight10 fLeft" border="0" width="300"><tbody><tr class="title"><td>
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</td></tr></tbody></table>While linebacker Jonathan Vilma has been
the poster boy for players who supposedly participated -- he apparently offered
$10,000 to anybody who knocked then-Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the
2010 NFC title game -- you'll recall that the league has said that between 22
and 27 Saints participated in the bounty program.
With Payton suspended
for a year, New Orleans
general manager Mickey Loomis for eight games, assistant coach Joe Vitt for six
games and Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams indefinitely, Goodell
clearly is making an example of those involved (and according to CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, the league wants the union to
help devise punishments for the players).
But as far as criminal charges
are concerned? One law professor doesn't see it happening.
difficult cases to bring, because it's hard to prove the injury was caused by a
tackle with specific intent to injure, rather than a regular tackle," Tulane law
professor Gabe Feldman said when the NFL first announced the bounty program. "We
all know injuries are a part of football. There can't be legal liability anytime
there is an injury. Otherwise, you can't have football."