For Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, the suspension he faces to begin the 2012 NFL season is more than just missing three regular season games. He is concerned that his reputation, for the rest of his football career and his post-football career, is at stake if his suspension is upheld. From the Plain Dealer:
"Listen, my reputation is a lot more valuable to me than three game checks and my track record speaks for itself,'' he said. "I have a master's degree in education. One of my goals is when I'm done playing, I want to go back and I want to teach. If this kind of thing prevents me from being able to get hired, I'm not okay with that.''
I often give people the benefit of the doubt. On one hand, it is easy to find Fujita at fault because he was part of a locker room that took part in bounty negotiations, reportedly. However, why were only four players suspended? Fujita doesn't believe there is evidence out there to find him at fault, and if he is so confident that he is innocent, you'd almost have to say that he is putting his reputation at stake twice if Roger Goodell unveils the incriminating evidence. That's why I'm siding with Fujita at the moment; I'll support the player who wears our colors until I hear the specific arguments against him.
Per the Akron Beacon Journal, linebacker D'Qwell Jackson commented on the hit the defense would take to begin the season if Fujita is absent:
“A lot of the guys in the linebacker room can play multiple positions,” Jackson said. “Obviously it will affect us. Losing him last year [because of a broken hand] was a big hit to the defense. But we know we’ll get him at some point. We don’t know the outcome of it right now, but Chris Gocong, myself and Kaluka [Maiava], all the other young guys, we all play multiple positions, so we’ll be able to fill the void for a short time.”