||08-17-2012 09:13 PM
NFLPA files docs to federal court
NEW ORLEANS -- The NFL Players Association has filed documents in federal court disputing commissioner Roger Goodell's sworn statement that he was prepared to discipline players for their involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty pool back in March, but waited until May as a courtesy to the union.
Attorneys for four players suspended in the bounty investigation have argued the punishment handed down by Goodell should be overturned, in part because the commissioner's public statements last spring showed he had improperly pre-judged the players' actions.
The documents filed Friday include sworn declarations by sanctioned linebacker Scott Fujita and union chief DeMaurice Smith.
Fujita describes a March phone conversation with Goodell in which the commissioner said he had no problem coming down hard on coaches but was not sure what to do about player discipline.
On Thursday, the NFL provided a federal judge with what it says is evidence Goodell did not improperly pre-judge the four players -- Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Fujita.
The evidence included a copy of a letter the NFLPA sent the league on March 7 asking Goodell to delay punishment of players implicated in the bounty probe.
It also includes a sworn declaration from Goodell in which he states he was prepared to hand down player discipline at the same time he announced suspensions for coaches and executives on March 21. Goodell's declaration states he held off after verbally agreeing to do so in a phone conversation with union head DeMaurice Smith.
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