Fujita, Hargrove, Smith 'profoundly disappointed with NFL's conduct'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

As you're well aware, the four former and/or current Saints players who were suspended by the NFL for their role in the bounty scandal are in New York for their appeal hearings. Per CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, all defendants did in fact show up.

But they're not happy about it, and three of them -- Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove and Will Smith -- released a statement on Monday morning calling into question Roger Goodell's "jurisdiction" and the NFL's honor.

"We have purportedly been disciplined by the Commissioner for alleged activities that the National Football League has grossly misrepresented to the public," the three players said in a statement. "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."

The Commissioner's jurisdiction is the biggest concern for everyone involved here. Unfortunately for the players, the commish has a pretty good leg to stand on regarding discipline based on a) the CBA and b) the recent rulings of arbitrators.

But that doesn't mean the players have to be happy about Goodell's ability to prosecute them through the league's on-field conduct policy. And they're not. They're "profoundly disappointed."

"As veteran players of 11, 9 and 9 years in this League, we are profoundly disappointed with the NFL's conduct in this matter," the players said. "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."

 
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