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Scott Fujita: NFL engaging in 'public smear campaign'

Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita continues to tell anyone who will listen that the NFL is wrong on every level about the New Orleans Saints "bounty" scandal. He views the fallout over the past several months as a "public smear campaign."

"I'm not saying the NFL is intentionally lying," Fujita said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I've been willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that they may have just been working with the information they've been given, even though much of that information was inaccurate and lacked credibility.

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"It's their cavalier interpretation of everything that's been way off. They clearly proceeded with a public smear campaign with very little regard for the truth."

The former Saints linebacker was suspended three games this season for his involvement in a player pool that monetarily rewarded New Orleans defenders for injuring the opposition. A union leader outspoken on player-safety issues, Fujita's implication painted him as a hypocrite.

"When you look at Scott, who was here for one season (of the three spanned by the bounty probe), for him to get three games, I just felt like there had to be more of a personal issue with that," Saints linebacker Scott Shanle said. "When you look at how outspoken he is and a lot of the issues he tries to address, it probably doesn't sit well with the league."

The last time we heard from Fujita (which wasn't very long ago), he was describing an awkward handshake and exchange with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at his appeal hearing. Fujita has challenged Goodell in the past, including a tense lockout-related exchange with the commissioner during a meeting with the Browns in the summer of 2010.

Fujita never has been afraid to speak up. Now he believes he's paying for it.

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