Union claims Roger Goodell prejudged Saints in bounty probe
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The NFL Players Association filed documents in federal court disputing commissioner Roger Goodell’s sworn statement that he was prepared to discipline players for their involvement in the Saints’ bounty pool back in March but waited until May as a courtesy to the union.
Attorneys for four players suspended in the bounty investigation have argued the punishment handed down by Goodell should be overturned, in part because the commissioner’s public statements last spring showed he had improperly prejudged the players’ actions.
The documents filed Friday include sworn declarations by sanctioned linebacker Scott Fujita and union chief DeMaurice Smith. Fujita reiterated comments he made in an interview with the Associated Press in June in which he described a phone conversation he had with Goodell in March.
US District Judge Ginger Berrigan had asked for the league and union to file evidence this week related to the NFL’s contention that Goodell delayed ruling on the players only because he was asked to do so by the union while it conducted its own bounty probe.
In a declaration filed Thursday, Goodell stated he agreed in a phone conversation with Smith ‘‘to address discipline of the club and non-player employees and then to afford the NFLPA a reasonable opportunity to conduct its own investigation and express its views before I imposed discipline on the players.’’
Smith, however, stated in his Friday declaration that while a phone conversation with the commissioner took place, he and Goodell never reached the agreement the commissioner described.
The NFLPA also noted in its filing that as late as April 24, Goodell was quoted in media reports saying he and league investigators ‘‘have been continuing our work’’ investigating player conduct, and ‘‘I hope to reach those decisions very soon.’’
Young may owe big money
Vince Young’s lawyer disputed a company’s claim that the Bills backup quarterback owes nearly $1.7 million. Attorney Trey Dolezal also raised questions Friday whether his client was even aware the loan was taken out in his name.
Dolezal said that Pro Player Funding never contacted Young, and instead worked with his former financial adviser, Ronnie T. Peoples, in issuing a high-interest $1.877 million loan in May 2011.
Pro Player Funding filed documents in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on June 6 stating it was legally obligated to begin collecting $1.695 million from Young because the player defaulted on the loan. The company claimed Young did so by missing a payment in late May, shortly after signing a one-year contract potentially worth $3 million with the Bills.
Among the documents Pro Player filed was what was called an affidavit of confession of judgment that included papers signed by Young as proof he was aware of the terms and conditions of the loan.
On Friday night, Young went 8 of 14 for 123 yards and no turnovers in the Bills’ 36-14 exhibition loss to the Vikings in Minneapolis.
Bowe signs franchise tender
The Chiefs said wide receiver Dwayne Bowe had signed his franchise tender after missing the entire offseason program and training camp. Bowe is due about $9.5 million this season. He was the last franchise player to sign with his team. It was unclear whether Bowe would join Kansas City for its game at St. Louis on Saturday.
Bucs’ Blount injured
Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said running back LeGarrette Blount is not expected to miss much time after injuring a groin late in the second quarter of a 30-7 exhibition loss to the Titans Friday night in Tampa. Blount took a hit to his left leg and gingerly walked off the field flanked by trainers. He didn’t return to action . . . The Lions’ first-team offense was in good form in a 27-12 exhibition win over the Ravens in Baltimore, as Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes and Calvin Johnson had five catches for 111 yards and a score. Detroit running back Stefan Logan was carted off the field in the second quarter with an ankle injury . . . In other exhibition games, the Jaguars edged the Saints, 27-24, in New Orleans when Jordan Palmer hit Kevin Elliott with an 11-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 13 seconds left; and the Panthers defeated Miami, 23-17, in Charlotte, N.C. . . . Police in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale said a man was shot in the head and suffered life-threatening injuries during a fight in a parking lot near the Cardinals’ stadium during the team’s 31-27 victory over the Raiders. No one else was injured.
Cowboys on the hot seat
A Texas woman is suing the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones, saying her buttocks was severely burned when she sat on a bench outside Cowboys Stadium. In a lawsuit filed last week, Jennelle Carrillo said the black marble bench was in direct sunlight on a hot August afternoon before a Cowboys scrimmage last year; the high temperature that day was 101 degrees. The lawsuit claims Carrillo was hospitalized and underwent skin grafts, and there were no warnings about sitting on the benches in hot weather . . . The Steelers activated nose tackle Casey Hampton and running back Rashard Mendenhall from the physically unable to perform list. Each veteran has been rehabilitating a torn ACL . . . The Bengals waived wide receiver Jordan Shipley, who was limited in training camp while he recovered from knee surgery.