Jon Beason unsure 'what side to take' in Saints' bounty scandal

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The way Jon Beason figures it, the stiff penalties levied in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal represent an NFL version of 50 shades of gray.

Beason, the Carolina Panthers middle linebacker, said he is unsure whether the NFL's punishment of the Saints was fair. He thinks the league could have done a better job in explaining how it arrived at the range of penalties levied (which included multiple suspensions, a fine and forfeiture of draft picks).

"As an athlete, you don't know what side to take," Beason said this week at Panthers training camp.

"Because it's an issue, it has to be addressed. But then you want to see the cold, hard facts about why this guy got 16 games, this guy got eight, this one got three, the coach got suspended, and so on. You can't form an opinion.

"Yeah, we're players in the NFL, but we don't know. We're spectators, too."

Beason was asked whether he suspects -- given the intensity of the Saints' denials -- that the league conducted a sloppy investigation.

"Even in Spygate, there were rumors about the tapes disappearing," he said, alluding to the New England Patriots' scandal in 2007 that didn't result in suspensions after the team illegally filmed opponents. (The team and Head Coach Bill Belichick were fined and a first-round pick was stripped.)

"I understand that you don't ever want to leave the shield (NFL logo) with a black eye. But sometimes, when bad things happen, people just want to know why."

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