Executive Director of the NFLPA, DeMaurice Smith, traveled to New Orleans Thursday along with NFLPA President Dominique Foxworth to huddle with members of the New Orleans Saints and to weigh legal options for those affected by Roger Goodell’s decision to suspend four players involved in the Bountygate scandal. Yesterday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter predicted that there would be a “massive legal fight” stemming from Goodell’s punishments which were handed down Wednesday.
Earlier this morning, Mary Jo White, an attorney hired by the NFL to evaluate the Bountygate scandal, held a conference call with members of the media in which she placed the blame squarely on the suspended players. “Each player had the responsibility to say no to this program and they didn’t do that,” she stated.
Richard Smith, lead counsel for the union in this case, rebutted White’s remarks, saying, “I was at the meeting with the NFL’s lead investigators in March. She was not there. Anyone, especially former prosecutors like both of us, know that what the league provided could never be called ‘substantial evidence’ of player participation in a ‘pay-to-injure’ program.”
If this back-and-forth between the respective attorneys for the NFL and the union is any indication of the coming battles, this could get very messy. The type of legal imbroglio that promises to unfold could make the Starcaps case from a couple of years ago look like small claims court.