Retired Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said the players gave NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to much control of player discipline in the collective bargaining agreement signed last year.
"So Roger Goodell, even though a lot of players don't like having him in charge, the NFLPA, we signed off on the collective bargaining agreement," Ward told WFNZ radio in Charlotte, per USA Today.
"And it should be noted that we were the only team who voted against it, and that was a major factor because of how we are fined on our team. In order to go to the appeal committee, we had to go right back to Roger Goddell. So that was one of the big things that we voted no against because we just felt like it was going to be unfair.
"But to the rest of the teams that did vote for the CBA, he's in charge, and those are the rules, and that's what you have to abide by because that's what you signed up for."
The NFLPA is currently appealing the suspensions levied by Goodell against four players as part of the Saints' bounty scandal.
"I think it went on through the league, but at the same time I think it's uncalled for," Ward said of bounty programs. "The teams such as the Saints -- and it may have been that every team was doing it -- but they're the ones who got put on tape in a playoff game, and of course, Brett Favre (Packers quarterback allegedly targeted). You don't need to have an extra incentive to go out and hurt somebody, the game is violent enough as it is. And then to go out there and be proud of collecting money for hurting somebody, take food off someone's table, that's uncalled for."