Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita was one of the four players initially suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for Fujuta’s alleged involvement in the Saints Bounty scandal. After an appeals panel overturned the suspensions, Goodell issued new penalties earlier this week.
Fujita’s suspension was reduced from four games to just one, but Fujita is apparently still upset with Goodell. In a statement released Wednesday before Browns practice, Fujita issued a statement criticizing Goodell’s actions regarding the Bounty as well as player safety:
Fujita, who met with Goodell on Sept. 28 in New York, was most bothered that Goodell’s “condescending tone used in his redetermination letter was neither accurate nor productive.”
Fujita went on, “Additionally, I am now purportedly being suspended for failing to confront my former defensive coordinator for his inappropriate use of language. This seems like an extremely desperate attempt to punish me. I also think it sets a dangerous precedent when players can be disciplined for not challenging the behavior of their superiors. This is an absolute abuse of the power that’s been afforded to the Commissioner.”
“For me, the issue of player health and safety is personal,” Fujita said. “For the league and the Commissioner, it’s about perception and liability. The Commissioner says he is disappointed in me. The truth is, I’m disappointed in him. His positions on player health and safety since a 2009 congressional hearing on concussions have been inconsistent at best. He failed to acknowledge a link between concussions and post-career brain disease, pushed for an 18-game regular season, committed to a full season of Thursday night games, has continually challenged players’ rights to file workers compensation claims for on-the-job injuries, and he employed incompetent replacement officials for the start of the 2012 season. His actions or lack thereof are by the league’s own definition, ‘conduct detrimental.’”
“My track record on the issue of player health and safety speaks for itself. And clearly, as I just listed, the Commissioner’s does too.”
Fujita has every right to be peeved, especially since his point that Goodell’s stance on player safety has indeed been inconsistent. No word yet on if Goodell will respond to Fujita’s statement.
Either way, Fujita said his piece and will serve his one-game suspension. Whether or not Goodell responds, Fujita echoed the sentiment of many players and fans alike. Goodell may indeed have more power than necessary.