Browns linebacker Fujita criticizes Goodell for ‘abuse of power’
Cleveland, OH, United States (4E Sports) – Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita has criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s “abuse of power” for suspending him one game without basis and his inconsistency on players’ health and safety.
Goodell reduced Fujita’s punishment for his alleged role in the New Orleans Saints’ “Bountygate” scandal from three to one game despite acknowledging that the linebacker never participated in the pay-for-hit scheme.
In a letter, Goodell informed Fujita that he was being suspended for one game for not speaking up against the program.
Goodell told Fujita he was “surprised and disappointed by the fact that you, a former defensive captain and a passionate advocate for player safety, ignored such a program and permitted it to continue.”
Fujita called the letter “neither accurate nor productive”, saying he was now being suspended for failing to confront his 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,” Fujita said.
Fujita has 72 hours of receiving the letters from Goodell to file an appeal with the league. The winless Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
Goodell reissued his rulings after a three-man CBA appeals panel last month asked him to clarify that the players were guilty of conduct detrimental to the game and not salary-cap infractions.
At the same time, Fujita criticized Goodell’s commitment to safety issues.
“For me, the issue of player health and safety is personal,” Fujita said. “For the league and the Commissioner, it’s about perception and 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.”
Fujita mentioned Goodell failed to acknowledge a link between concussions and post-career brain disease and even pushed for an 18-game regular season and committed to a full season of Thursday night game.
“He 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,” said Fujita.