BEREA – Browns linebacker Scott Fujita acknowledged today that he was in the room for the inflammatory speech of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams the night before New Orleans’ playoff game against San Francisco in January.
The tape of the speech was released by filmmaker Sean Pamphilon and created a stir throughout the league. Williams, who’s been suspended indefinitely by the NFL for his role in the New Orleans’ bounty scandal, told the defensive players to “kill the head, the body will die” and mentioned specific body parts of injured 49ers to target.
“My friend Steve Gleason came out to California for a visit, so I went to help escort him through everything,” Fujita said. “There are things that have been said that are highly inappropriate, I get that, but whether the players take things like that seriously or not, I don’t know and I don’t think so. But that’s all I’ll say about that.”
Pamphilon wrote and posted a 10,000-word essay on his website Friday detailing the entire process of the recording of Williams’ speech and its release. He wrote that Fujita pushed for the release of the tape, with the support of the NFL Players Association.
Fujita chose not to answer most questions about Pamphilon and the essay today, referring to them as “personal matters.”
“That’s something that was shared among friends and was never intended to be public,” Fujita said after the first day of mandatory minicamp.
Fujita was one of four current or former Saints suspended for their alleged roles in the bounty program. He got the lightest sentence, three games, and has reserved the right to appeal pending a pair of grievances filed by the union.
The first grievance, questioning commissioner Roger Goodell’s jurisdiction in the case, was dismissed Monday, but the union will appeal.
“It’s certainly disappointing but this is a part of the process,” Fujita said. “You’ve just got to be patient and respect that process and just keep hoping for a positive outcome.”
Fujita is a member of the union’s executive committee and has been outspoken on matters of player safety. He was asked if he wished he’d kept a lower profile, because he might not have been singled out for suspension.
“No, I don’t have any regrets for anything I’ve ever done,” he said. “I accept that responsibility. I was nominated a few years ago for a reason. I wanted to be a part of that culture change and help in pushing forward more health and safety measures, getting new benefits for the players and I take that seriously and I can’t walk away from the players on that.”
Fujita wouldn’t answer when asked about Pamphilon saying he planned to retire after the 2011 season.
“I’m here and I’m focused on the here and now and I’m playing this season and I’m actually in great shape too and I feel good about that,” he said. “I still love the game, I still love my teammates, I love playing on Sundays, and that’s what keeps me coming back, keeps me preparing.”