Chris Strauss, USA TODAY Sports
The day after former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue vacated the suspensions of the four players penalized in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, focusing much of the guilt on the team's coaches and officials, NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith went on national television and claimed there is no evidence the bounty program ever existed.
Via CBS This Morning:
"Having seen nearly 50,000 pages of evidence and nearly 20 hours of testimony, I know that there was no bounty put on players by Saints players," Smith told the show. "I'm disappointed in the National Football League and certainly in the way they conducted an investigation because I now know having read and seen all of the testimony that there was certainly no evidence that the bounties existed and frankly, I was a prosecutor in (Washington, D.C.) for 10 years. I understand how to do investigations. And the investigation that the league did was sloppy, the investigation that they did was more outcome-focused than frankly process-focused."
Smith called on the league to apologize to the four players involved -- Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove -- and for Commissioner Roger Goodell to release the transcripts of the appeals hearings.
It's hard to imagine an apology or full disclosure made by the league at this point. While Vilma intends to continue with his defamation lawsuit against Goodell -- and several other players might also seek legal action -- it's obvious the league considers the matter resolved. After months of back and forth, most fans likely would prefer the matter go away at this point as well.
USA TODAY Sports