BOSTON (CBS) — DeMaurice Smith spoke Friday on ESPN, and the NFLPA executive director took aim at the credibility of Roger Goodell and the NFL.
Appearing on “Outside The Lines” with Bob Ley, Smith discredited the “independence” of Ted Wells’ investigation into the accusations of the Patriots’ deflating footballs.
“You can’t really have credibility just because you slap the word ‘independent’ on a piece of paper,” Smith said of the Wells report.
Smith added that the NFL hired Wells for a reason: to find Tom Brady and the Patriots guilty.
“I think that the Wells Report delivered exactly what the client wanted,” Smith said.
As for the NFLPA’s request for Goodell to recuse himself as arbitrator in the appeal hearing of Brady, Smith said the NFLPA has not yet heard from the commissioner.
The conversation steered away from “DeflateGate” and toward the overall credibility of Goodell. Smith said the overturning of three of Goodell’s disciplinary decisions “creates a credibility gap.”
“If you look at the other pillar, when it comes to owner misconduct, you have the case of Mr. [Jim] Irsay, where somebody overdosed to death in his house,” Smith added. “You have the case involving the owner in Cleveland [Jimmy Haslam] where the business he was connected with was found to be in violation of federal law. And you have the case of the Wilfs [Vikings owners] where a state court judge ruled that they had engaged in fraud.”
Smith said that counts as three instances when the commissioner was overruled, and three times when he “looked the other way.”
“Somewhere in the middle of that,” Smith said, “is a huge yawning gap.”
Asked directly whether he trusts Goodell, Smith said, “It’s not my job to trust him. It’s my job to represent our players.”