One of those players is current Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, who played for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in 2009, the first of the alleged three-year system that paid players money for big hits that took opponents out of games.
Fujita is potentially facing disciplinary action for his role in the bounty system, according to a source. It becomes especially complicated for Fujita when one considers that he is a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee and has been an outspoken advocate for player health and safety. If Fujita was in fact a major player in the bounty program, he will come out looking particularly bad.
The bounty program in New Orleans (and, as we find out, in other cities) does not come as a surprise, which should be a concern in itself. Initially, it may not seem like such a big deal, but how does the league make the game safer when the players are going out of their way to make it more violent?
No one is naive enough to believe that something like this couldn’t take place. “Taking someone out of a game” is a phrase insinuated or nearly uttered during every broadcast, and only when we find out that it’s true – and done for money, no less – do we act indignant.
It’s hypocritical of the players to harp on the league’s recent stance on safety, but it’s hypocritical on the part of the fans to demand big hits and assume something like this wasn’t going on behind the scenes.
It will be interesting to see what kind of punishments are handed down, as this is a golden opportunity for the NFL to back up its pledge to make the the game as safe as possible. For Browns fans, that could mean even more time without Fujita on the field.