We found out yesterday that Roger Goodell was only slightly amending the punishment to Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove, and keeping Will Smith’s four-game ban the same. The NFLPA, pissed that Goodell ruled in favor of Goodell and against the three-person panel which threw out the suspensions, wrote a scathing letter promising retribution.
Scott Fujita saw the largest reduction, with his suspension cut from three games to one. But for Fujita, he still thought that it was unjustly harsh – not to mention Goodell dragging his name through the mud for the last seven months. So Fujita decided to lash out in response in what can only be called a remarkably accurate synopsis of Roger Goodell’s track record of sustained hypocrisy.
We’ll let Fujita take it from here:
“I’m pleased the Commissioner has finally acknowledged that I never participated in any so-called “bounty” program, as I’ve said for the past 7 months. However, his condescending tone was neither accurate nor productive. Additionally, I am now purportedly being suspended for failing to confront my former defensive coordinator for his inappropriate use of language. This seems like an extremely desperate attempt to punish me. I also think it sets a bad precedent when players can be disciplined for not challenging the behavior of their superiors. This is an absolute abuse of the power that’s been afforded to the Commissioner.
For me, the issue of player health & safety is personal. For the league and the Commissioner, it’s about perception & liability.
The Commissioner says he is disappointed in me. The truth is, I’m disappointed in him. His positions on player health and safety since a 2009 congressional hearing on concussions have been inconsistent at best. He failed to acknowledge a link between concussions & post-career brain disease, pushed for an 18-game regular season, committed to a full season of Thursday night games, has continually challenged players’ rights to file workers compensation claims for on-the-job injuries, and he employed incompetent replacement officials for the start of the 2012 season. His actions or lack thereof are by the league’s own definition, “conduct detrimental”.
My track record on the issue of player health & safety speaks for itself. And clearly, as I just listed, the Commissioner’s does too.”
“Conduct detrimental.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves. And, whaddayaknow, it’s right there in the rule book. SUSPEND ROGER GOODELL.
Suspending Fujita for not confronting Gregg Williams is a grave miscarriage of football justice, and an ignorant perspective on the Saints bounty scandal. The hierarchy in football is regimented and sacred, and to reasonably expect a player to put his career on the line by speaking out against a coach is unjust bulldozing. And, as Fujita notes, it’s a gross overextension of the commissioner’s power, suspending a player for non-action. It’s a cop out, one Goodell will never back away from, as he’s fully entrenched in his righteous grandstanding and unwilling to let this whole thing go.
It’s also wonderfully ironic that Goodell is so staunchly protecting his holier-than-thou platform, when his record of inconsistency regarding player safety, the core issue of this entire bounty scandal, is so plainly outlined by Fujita. But this is the NFL under Roger Goodell, a facade of safety to protect a bundle of cash.