NEW YORK -- Suspended players Scott Fujita, Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove left Monday's "bounty" appeal hearing before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell roughly an hour after it started, and Fujita vehemently denied his involvement in a bounty program run by the New Orleans Saint.
Fujita told reporters Monday that he "yet to see anything that implicates me in some pay-to-injure scheme; not in the last three months, not in the last three days, not today."
"And perhaps that's because there is nothing that could implicate me in some pay-to-injure scheme," Fujita continued.
Fujita said the forum in which Goodell hears the appeal for discipline he handed out is the wrong venue for adjudication.
Fujita said his reputation has been seriously damaged by the way the investigation has played out, saying he has "a hard time" with how his ability to provide for his family has been compromised after 10 years of conducting himself "in a positive manner."
"You know, throughout this process, it's become increasingly clear to me that just because someone disagrees with the NFL's interpretation of an incredibly flawed investigation, it's assumed that he's lying, and to me, that's a shame," Fujita said. "That's a shame."
Fujita said no information was provided at the appeal hearing to substantiate the suspensions issued to the four suspended players, including linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Vilma opted not to attend the afternoon appeal hearing after the original morning appeal hearing was adjourned because issues were raised by Vilma's attorney, Peter Ginsberg.
"The NFL has been careless and irresponsible, and they've made mistakes, and at some point, I think they've got to answer some questions about that," Fujita said.
Smith, Hargrove and the lawyers representing them declined comment.
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