WASHINGTON (AP) — The NFL Players Association will do its own investigation of the New Orleans Saints' bounty system and is asking the league to help set up interviews with the team's coaches and front-office staff.

In a statement released Wednesday, the union says it will "vigorously protect the rights of all players."

The statement also says that if it turns out players "voluntarily and willingly participated in conduct that jeopardized health and safety," the union will work with the NFL to "prevent this in the future."

There is no mention of possible punishment for players involved.

Saints head coach Sean Payton, general manager Mickey Loomis, and former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams have acknowledged the team had a bounty pool for big hits.