The verbal and legal battle over the New Orleans Saints' bounty punishments continues on a few fronts. The most obvious one is Jonathan Vilma leading the players' charge against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Also emerging: The players and coaches are starting to squabble. Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon wrote over the weekend that Saints like Drew Brees and Scott Fujita sought to release the infamous Gregg Williams audio recording before the NFC Divisional game in order to blame the coaching staff for the problem.
NFL Coaches Association executive director David Cornwell knows this and took the opportunity Monday to slam the players and their union leadership.
"After destroying the best opportunity in the history of sports for NFL players to maximize the economic benefits of playing the game, NFLPA leadership has now turned its sights on destroying the bond between NFL players and NFL coaches," Cornwell wrote. "Its strategy in the bounty investigation has been to throw coaches under the bus to save the players involved.
"As the NFLPA was suing NFL coaches and sponsoring the declaration of Anthony Hargrove, in which it encouraged a young man to admit to lying and then tell a new lie by claiming that his coaches made him do it, we now learn that DeMaurice Smith was scheming for the release of the Gregg Williams tape because he thought players would look better if he made Williams look worse."
The full statement goes on to call the players' "my coach made me do it" defense as "petty and irresponsible."
A lot of what Cornwell writes makes sense. But he is undermined by his history with Smith. Cornwell sought to lead the NFLPA and lost out to Smith in his election. He has often criticized Smith's leadership during the lockout and continues to do so here.
Some of this statement comes off as personal, even if he is rightly representing the rights of his coaches.