NEW YORK (AP) — Union leader Domonique Foxworth says NFL players don't trust Commissioner Roger Goodell because of the Saints bounty case, in particular.
The NFLPA president added he wouldn't be able to persuade players to have faith in the league even if he wanted to.
Speaking on a conference call Tuesday, days before union representatives meet with NFL officials at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, Foxworth returned to a theme he stressed at the NFLPA's pre-Super Bowl news conference.
"It's pretty obvious that there's a gap in what would be a reasonable amount of trust ..." Foxworth said. "There've been a number of events to lead players to believe they cannot trust the league.
"There was a bridge beginning to be built and then there were some recent events that kind of broke that bridge again."
Foxworth said the players are seeking checks and balances such as a neutral arbitrator to improve relations between the union and league. He cited the bounties and how former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was not "unbiased."
Yet Tagliabue made the final decision that tossed out the suspensions of four players.
"When things like that happen," the former defensive back said of Tagliabue's appointment by Goodell, "it's hard for our players to believe that the league has their best interests in mind. And that makes it harder for me to do my job, and for the PA to do our jobs and for the league to do their jobs. Because we really need to agree upon things, moving forward."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello insisted that the union has not looked ahead since a new collective bargaining agreement with the league was reached a year and a half ago.
"Since 2011 the union has spent most of its time backing away from its commitments," Aiello said in an email to The Associated Press. "Whether on old litigation, HGH, or commissioner discipline, the NFLPA has consistently looked backwards.