The agent for suspended Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Anthony
Hargrove says the NFL has used semantics, but not hard evidence, as the basis for punishing current and former Saints players in its bounty investigation. All four players have appeal hearings scheduled before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell today.
Following is a statement released a short time ago from three of the four players, including Hargrove, who was signed as a free agent by the Green Bay Packers before any of the bounty penalties were handed down.
Following is a statement by three of the four, former Saints players with regards to today’s hearings.
STATEMENT BY SCOTT FUJITA, ANTHONY HARGROVE AND WILL SMITH
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