NFL players' union leader calls for bounty transcripts to be released

Wed Dec 12, 2012 12:01pm EST
 
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By Simon Evans

(Reuters) - NFL players' union leader DeMaurice Smith has called on the league to make public the testimony transcripts in the controversial New Orleans Saints 'bounty' case as he believes it will show the cash-for-hits scheme did not exist.

Smith's call came a day after the four suspended players in the case had their sanctions overturned on appeal after an investigation led by ex-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove were suspended in May after an NFL probe found them to have had leading roles in a program that gave players cash rewards for knocking opponents out of games from 2009-11.

Tagliabue backed the league's main findings on the bounty scheme but ruled that the players should not have been banned.

"First and foremost, they (the NFL) should say they're sorry because they've maligned the character of good players," Smith said in an interview with 'CBS This Morning' television show on Wednesday.

"And if they certainly believe that they are right, the one thing that (Commissioner) Roger Goodell could do is simply release the transcripts and we will all know the truth," he added.

"I think that the league has an obligation to search for the truth, and I believe that the truth is that there were no bounties put on other players," said Smith.

Tagliabue cleared former Saints linebacker Fujita, now with the Cleveland Browns and put the main blame for the affair with Saints coaching staff and executives.   Continued...