The NFL announced the suspension of four players on Wednesday for their role in the New Orleans Saints bounty program. Reaction from players and the NFLPA has raised concerns over the due process afforded Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith, and Jonathan Vilma in their punishment.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham took to Twitter after the news broke to decry the process.
This is beyond ridiculous! I want to see the evidence and hear an explanation. Its sad when u have to hear about it on tv. Ridiculous!— Jimmy Graham (@TheJimmyGraham) May 2, 2012
At least one player reportedly learned of his suspension in the media. According to Saints quarterback Chase Daniel, who was with Vilma, he heard the news via SportsCenter.
Last Wednesday at the NFLPA Rookie Debut event, George Atallah, assistant executive director for external affairs at the NFLPA, spoke about the importance of due process related to the bounty investigation.
Asked if the league had been forthcoming about the players under investigation for their alleged participation in the bounty program, Atallah replied, "not as open as we'd like them to be."
"You've heard me say repeatedly, you've heard [NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith] say repeatedly, and you've heard members of our executive committee say repeatedly, that if they are alleging somehing as serious as they are, each individual player should have the ability to understand what evidence there is against them," Atallah said. "That's what happens in the quote-unquote real world, that's what we believe should happen in this world."
Fan reaction at Canal Street Chronicles, SB Nation's Saints site, saw the punishments as "harsh."
The NFLPA told SB Nation that the organization will not be making any additional comment concerning the matter.