Whitworth backs player appeals

With the NFL Players Association poised to fight Wednesday's suspensions of four Saints players role in Bountygate, Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth supports his organization's position.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the season, Packers defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove for eight games, Saints defensive end Will Smith for four games and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita for three games. Which means Fujita is going to miss the Bengals Sept. 16 home opener if the players' appeals fail.

Whitworth continues to insist that the players should be punished if the NFL finds a violation. But he thinks Goodell's decisions are arbitrary.

"It just seems like they draw it in the dirt. Whatever they throw up there and sticks, they go with it," Whitworth said. "If there is a schedule of fines, there should be a schedule of suspensions.

"How can these guys have played on the same defense and there are different levels? Believe me, if somebody does something wrong, they ought to be penalized. But what's frustrating is that there doesn't seem to be any kind of guidelines. What constitutes what?

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