New Orleans Saints  

 

NFL yet to respond to union's request on Saints punishments

The NFL Players Association formally requested that the league not punish the 22 to 27 players it cited in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal until the union has completed its independent investigation, which is underway.

A union source said that request, along with requests to the NFL to facilitate interviews with Saints' management, coaches and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams -- the central figure in the scandal -- have drawn no response. The source said, however, the NFLPA isn't viewing that as a refusal by the league to share information, and the union hasn't ruled out the league's cooperation.

The source said the NFLPA hasn't approached the Saints or St. Louis Rams (for whom Williams now is the defensive coordinator) to facilitate interviews because this is a league matter.

The NFL has put no timetable on when it will hand down punishment, but it said the Saints, coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis and Williams could face discipline ranging from fines and suspensions to the loss of draft picks.

The NFLPA source said the union understands the league might not honor its request to wait to punish players, but it would wait to see the league's actions moving forward before addressing potential recourse -- if there is any to address.

A league official said players would be held as culpable as the coaches and team executives because, according to its findings, they primarily funded the pool used to reward players for big plays and for attempts to injure other players.

The NFLPA has no oversight over team executives and is only interested in what happens with players.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.

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