Scott Fujita lashes out at Roger Goodell over bounty suspensions
Scott Fujita also took issues Roger Goodell’s remarks about the linebackers role in compromising player safety and intended to appeal the reduced suspensions, that were handed out by the NFL Commissioner on Tuesday. The 33-year-old Scott Fujita revealed that he expects to play the home game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Roger Goodell upheld New Orleans Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma and defensive end Will Smith’s year-long and four game suspensions respectively on Tuesday. However, the Roger Goodell reduced free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita’s suspensions to two and one game.
Prior to Wednesday’s practice, Scott Fujita had stated that he was glad that Roger Goodell had finally accepted his non-involvement in the bounty program. But in a later statement the same day, Scott Fujita was particularly fuming over a letter he received from Roger Goodell, following the reduction in his suspension.
The NFL Commissioner stated in the letter that he was “surprised and disappointed” in Scott Fujita, who as a former defensive captain and player safety activist, participated in the bounty program and compromised player safety instead of helping to shut it down.
"For him to come out and say he was disappointed in me for not standing up to my coach," stated Scott Fujita on Wednesday. "I haven't had someone tell me they were disappointed in me since I was 12 years old, and that was my father…"I thought it was uncalled for and inappropriate.”
Scott Fujita met left New York in a brighter mood after meeting with Roger Goodell over the suspensions issue last month.
The NFL claims that the players were involved in a pay-per-performance program and were rewarded with cash bonuses for hard hits and knockouts on their rivals. While the players have acknowledged the existence of a pool, they contest the perception that they rewarded for injuring opponents.
Scott Fujita had taken a similar stand by present a Roger Goodell with a declaration signed by 20 players that he did not participate in any rewards system allocated to a bounty fund.
However, Scott Fujita alleged on Wednesday that he would have willingly accepted the reduced suspension by the NFL had it not been for Roger Goodell’s “"condescending tone used in his redetermination letter” which was “neither accurate nor productive."
“I am now purportedly being suspended for failing to confront my former defensive coordinator for his inappropriate use of language,” stated Scott Fujita. “This seems like an extremely desperate attempt to punish me.”
Scott Fujita has maintained his innocence throughout the bounty program investigation, as a member of NFL Players Association's executive board, he felt extremely offended by Roger Goodell’s take on the player’s safety issue.
Highlighting Roger Goodell’s track record on player safety so far, Scott Fujita claimed the NFL Commissioner had failed to link concussions with post-career diseases, advocated for 2 additional games per regular season, refuted players right to compensation packages for “on-the-job injuries.” Additionally, Roger Goodell pushed for the inexperienced replacement refs (a risk to player safety), during the referee lockout that stretched into the regular season.
“His actions or lack thereof are by the league's own definition, 'conduct detrimental,’” said Scott Fujita.