WASHINGTON (AP) ― The NFL Players Association will do its own investigation of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty system and asked the league to help set up interviews with the team’s coaches and front-office staff.
In a statement released Wednesday, the union vowed to “vigorously protect the rights of all players.”
“If the facts prove that players voluntarily and willingly participated in conduct that jeopardized health and safety, we will work with them and the league to put in place additional safeguards to prevent this in the future,” the statement said.
“Dangerous play and acts on the field by players intended to injure have no place in football. We must do better to ensure that this activity is not a part of our game.”
There was no mention of possible punishment for players involved.
After the NFL made its investigation public Friday, former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams admitted to running a bounty pool of up to $50,000 over the past three seasons, rewarding players for knocking targeted opponents out of games.
The league now wants to know whether Williams ― who recently left the Saints to become defensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams ― ran a similar scheme while a head coach or assistant with the Titans, Redskins, Jaguars and Bills.