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Saints players will receive the “due process” for which the union bargained


Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon, who injected himself into the Saints bounty scandal by releasing, over the objection of Steve Gleason, audio from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams that Pamphilon recorded the night before the Saints lost to the 49ers in the division-round playoffs, is now injecting himself into the discipline imposed on the players who funded and/or received money for inflicting injury on opponents.

“In the USA we have due process,” Pamphilon says on Twitter. “Where is evidence? Who hears the appeal? Rise up NFL media and say what’s true. Where you at Mike Florio?

Here I am, Sean. And here’s everything you need to know.

First, the four players who have been suspended -- Jonathan Vilma, Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith, and Scott Fujita -- each had a chance to meet with the Commissioner before the disciplined was determined. They declined.

Regardless of their reason for not taking advantage of a chance to meet with the Commissioner before the suspensions were imposed, they declined.

Second, they each have the right to appeal the decision. While plenty of people are complaining that Commissioner Roger Goodell will handle the appeal of the decision he already has made (and those complaints are in many respects valid), that’s the procedure to which the players agreed in the August 2011 labor deal. (Adam Schefter of ESPN reports, as we surmised, that the union will argue that the appeals should be heard by Art Shell or Ted Cottrell, who were jointly appointed and are jointly paid by the NFL and the NFLPA.)

During the appeal process, evidence will be presented, by both sides. Hopefully, the evidence will be made publicly available, so that the media can scrutinize it and determine whether the sanctions were justified.

For Pamphilon’s sake, here’s also hoping that there’s no proof implicating Fujita. As Pamphilon separately said on Twitter, “Show me the evidence Scott Fujita ever paid a man to hurt someone or took $ to do so and I will cut one of my testicles off & chew on it.”

Let’s further hope that scene will be omitted from any of Pamphilon’s upcoming documentaries.