As the NFL and NFLPA are headed to an appeals hearing today for the suspension of four players in relation to the New Orleans Saints bounty case, some of the players involved have released a statement regarding the NFL's actions. Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith have alleged that the NFL has "grossly misrepresented to the public" the activities of the players involved.
Below is the full statement released by the three players and the NFLPA, including a nice "Shame on Roger Goodell," statement.
We have purportedly been disciplined by the Commissioner for alleged activities that the National Football League has grossly misrepresented to the public.
We are in attendance today not because we recognize the Commissioner's jurisdiction to adjudicate regarding these specious allegations, but because we believe the League would attempt to publicly mischaracterize our refusal to attend. We will not address the substance of the NFL's case because this is not the proper venue for adjudication, and there has been no semblance of due process afforded to us.
As veteran players of 11, 9 and 9 years in this League, we are profoundly disappointed with the NFL's conduct in this matter. We know what the NFL has publicly said we did, and the Commissioner has chosen to try to punish us and disparage our characters based on semantics, not facts. Words are cheap and power is fleeting.
Shame on the National Football League and Commissioner Goodell for being more concerned about 'convicting' us publicly than being honorable and fair to men who have dedicated their professional lives to playing this game with honor.
-- Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith