Browns linebacker Scott Fujita saw his suspension dropped from three games to one for the Saints Bounty scandal, but on Wednesday, he fired back at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for what he considers a condescending attitude when Goodell wrote the Browns veteran on Tuesday.
“The Commissioner says he is disappointed in me,” Fujita wrote in his statement. “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.’ ”
Fujita conveyed he thinks the commissioner might talk a lot about safety but cares more about the bottom line.
“For me, the issue of player health & safety is personal. For the league and the Commissioner, it’s about perception & liability,” stated Fujita
The veteran linebacker continued in addressing his reduced sentence.
“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,” Fujita said. “However, his condescending tone 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 bad 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 feels his reputation is at stake and believes he should be recognized as a leading advocate for player safety. The language used by Goodell called into question Fujita’s true commitment to player safety.
“My track record on the issue of player health & safety speaks for itself,” Fujita wrote. “And clearly, as I just listed, the Commissioner’s does too.”
Fujita likely to appeal his one-game suspension. He finishes practice at 2:45 and it’s possible he will talk to reporters.