The NFLPA released a statement from Richard Smith, the union's outside counsel, on Monday afternoon further criticizing the league's handling of the New Orleans Saints bounty investigation and the process of handing out punishments to the four players indicted for their involvement. In that statement, Smith accuses the league of "whitewashing" a "sloppy" investigation.
Smith's statement echoes familiar charges from the NFLPA and players throughout the bounty saga. He alleges that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was "unfair" in his discipline of players as well as denying those players proper due process.
The unfair discipline of players for their alleged involvement in a pay-to-injure/bounty program violated the Commissioner's duty to refrain from resorting to improper methods to defend an unsubstantiated pronouncement.
The NFLPA memo did reveal that former Federal prosecutor Mary Jo White, who was hired by the NFL to review the investigation, was on hand at Monday's appeal for Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma. White read a report of the investigation at Monday's appeal hearing, but was not allowed to field questions from players or their attorneys.
Smith also took the league to task for providing only 200 pages of evidence among some 18,000 pages the NFL claims to have. The NFLPA claims that the evidence was provided after the required 72-hour window, and Smith claimed that the NFL declined their request for a three-day adjournment to review the documents.
The appeal hearing resumed on Monday afternoon following a brief window to further review the evidence provided by the league. Vilma and his attorney pulled out of the appeal, calling it a "sham."