NFLPA's Smith calls for new probe
NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith on Friday called for the NFL to scrap the results of an investigation into the Saints' alleged bounty program. Smith, calling the investigation "unprofessional, unsubstantiated and incomplete," said he believes a new investigation should be launched into the program, which the NFL said ran from 2009-11.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held an appeal hearing Monday for four players suspended in connection with the alleged program: Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita.
Smith wrote in a letter to Goodell: "In the days since the June 18 hearing, firsthand witnesses to the Saints defensive team meetings who the league actually interviewed have clearly and publicly stated that the NFL grossly mischaracterized the information they provided to NFL investigators and knowingly misrepresented the facts surrounding this investigation."
He cited statements from Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt, Hargrove and Mike Ornstein, a close friend of suspended head coach Sean Payton who was implicated in the bounty program, that contradicted findings by NFL investigators. Smith also complained that the league did not allow witnesses to appear at Monday's hearing.
Goodell did not immediately respond. Jeff Pash, the NFL's lead attorney, said Smith "would have a different view'' if he had been at Monday's hearing.