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By Tony Grossi
It’s safe to say Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and Roger Goodell will not be socializing soon.
Reacting to Goodell’s letter explaining the reduction of his suspension from three games to one, Fujita lit into the NFL commissioner, charging him with “an absolute abuse of power” and concluding that Goodell, in fact, acted in “conduct detrimental” to the NFL.
Goodell acknowledged in his letter to Fujita that he had no evidence of Fujita contributing to the Saints’ “bounty program.” What raised Fujita’s ire was Goodell’s “disappointment” that Fujita did not blow the whistle on former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams or discourage teammates from participating.
“I have to admit, the condescending tone really set me over the edge,” Fujita said after Browns practice on Wednesday. “I thought that was uncalled for. It was inappropriate …. to be re-suspended for not standing up to my defensive coordinator doesn’t make a lot of sense and it set a bad precedent.”
Fujita said he would file the necessary paperwork by Friday to appeal so that he would play on Sunday. He doesn't expect an appeal to be heard for a few weeks. So this fight will drag on.
Fujita’s statement in full follows:
"I'm pleased the Commissioner has finally acknowledged that I never participated in any so-called "bounty" program, as I've said for the past 7 months. However, the condescending tone used in his redetermination letter was neither accurate nor productive. 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 & safety is personal. For the league and the Commissioner, it's about perception & 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 & 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 & safety speaks for itself. And clearly, as I just listed, the Commissioner's does too."
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