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NFL’s outside lawyer calls evidence against Saints players “quite strong”

WHITE AP

On Wednesday, the NFL advised its teams that former prosecutor Mary Jo White has been retained to provide an independent review of the bounty evidence.  On Thursday, the NFL made White available to the media.

White, who was retained by the NFL but who described her work as an “independent review” of the process, said that she has reviewed all evidence and that the factual basis for the punishments imposed against the players is “quite strong.”  She also described the overall process as “thorough, fair, and robust.”

White characterized the punishments as arising from “very strong corroborating evidence,” both from “multiple, independent first-hand accounts” and the 18,000 documents gathered.

White also pointed out that the individuals who provided information will have their identity kept secret in order to ensure that they will not face retaliation, a noble and appropriate goal with which Jeremy Shockey would surely agree.  Still, when pressed on whether the yet-unnamed persons will testify at the appeal hearings or whether the specific names have been given to the NFLPA and the accused players so that they may prepare an adequate defense, White tiptoed through the words in the way that lawyers so often do, declining ultimately to say that the people will testify or that their names have been or will be given to the NFLPA or the accused players.

And so it appears that, for now, only general summaries and characterizations of the information have been provided to the NFLPA.  If the players are going to mount any type of a meaningful defense, that’s not good enough.

Yes, folks who cooperated with the investigation must be protected from retaliation.  Otherwise, no one will cooperate in the future.  But this isn’t some third-world country where folks testify behind a curtain.  If the available procedures are going to have any value, the people who are making the allegations need to put their names to their words — especially if the accused players are claiming (as two of them are) that the evidence is false.

Without those fundamental protections, anyone can accuse anyone else of anything.

The league is preparing a full transcript of the conference call with Mary Jo White.  I’ll scour it for anything else worth mentioning.  For now, the thing that struck me as most significant is the fact that the NFL hasn’t, and possibly won’t, give the players full information regarding the persons who have accused them of participating in a bounty program.

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75 Responses to “NFL’s outside lawyer calls evidence against Saints players “quite strong””
  1. nyyjetsknicks says: May 3, 2012 11:09 AM

    Want to know what 18,000 documents means? Jonathan Vilma’s golf game is really going to improve.

  2. fusion3450 says: May 3, 2012 11:09 AM

    Ed Werder was just on SportsCenter. He is at the Saints facility today. He said a Saints source he spoke to said “The leagues findings are exaggerated. In contrast to the leagues contention the Saints bounty program existed for 3 years… It was limited to playoff games in the Superdome against Arizona and Minnesota.” The source then went to say, “This whole thing is one big joke. Except for the 2 games in 2009, the rest is a joke. No one has stood up and told the truth.”

    I hope that now with all the punishments dished out, the Saints start speaking up. I know the organization has taken the silent approach, but with the suspensions given, the players need to tell their side of the story. I really look forward to the players union challenging Goodell’s “facts” and “evidence” that all of the stuff we’re accused of happened.

  3. geauxjay says: May 3, 2012 11:14 AM

    Just let us see the evidence and we’ll shut up. What are they trying to hide? Or do they think we’re too stupid to understand so we need a high and mighty New York City lawyer to verify it for us?

  4. jeff061 says: May 3, 2012 11:14 AM

    However, the system is grossly unfair if those penalized and prevented from making a living cannot confront their accusers. In this case you certainly had players throwing other players under the bus to save their own skin….that, and how the information used against them was obtained is key.

  5. ronw121548 says: May 3, 2012 11:15 AM

    What prosecutor doesn’t feel evidence is compelling and proof of guilt. That why we have jury system.

  6. nflfollower says: May 3, 2012 11:15 AM

    “Without those fundamental protections, anyone can accuse anyone else of anything.”——-so now we want names attached to information? No more anonymous sources? We need to “put names to words”? This is just hilarious coming from the media, I’m sorry. It’s just way way too funny.

  7. bduncanscott says: May 3, 2012 11:16 AM

    You know how many innocent people have been jailed based on “multiple independent first hand accounts”?? many! This is why solid evidence is required by judges. In a media fueled business where being in the spot light and can bring money in the form of interviews or endorsements or just the ability to bask in the lime light one more time, these first hand accounts backed up with NO hard evidence, have the same weight in court as a handful of your own poo!

  8. franklamar17 says: May 3, 2012 11:17 AM

    I hope the players take it to court and win…if you are going to make a statement on what some one did,you should stand behind it…that’s bs what the nfl is doing

  9. olcap says: May 3, 2012 11:17 AM

    Mike Florio sez:

    “the people who are making the allegations need to put their names to their words — especially if the accused players are claiming (as two of them are) that the evidence is false.”

    I would add that the players who are claiming that it’s all a lie, should, if found to be lying in claiming the evidence is false, be permmanentlyt banned from the NFL as a consequence of their continued lying.

  10. purplegreenandgold says: May 3, 2012 11:20 AM

    i understand where you are coming from fusion3450 but “ESPN” in the same sentence as “SOURCE” just strike me as not true. i could be wrong but i wouldnt buy what they are dishing out right now. sounds like they are trying to cover their a$$.

  11. pftcensorssuck says: May 3, 2012 11:21 AM

    the thing that struck me as most significant is the fact that the NFL hasn’t, and possibly won’t, give the players full information regarding the persons who have accused them of participating in a bounty program.
    ———————————————————-
    It wil surely come out in court, if the players are stupid enough to think that the NFL would suspend them without sufficient evidence to hold up.

  12. kenny3398 says: May 3, 2012 11:21 AM

    Listen,jonathan vilma had 36 solo tackles and 1 forced fumble last season.His productivity on the field has dropped immensely.We have have Curtis lofton,David Hawthorne,Chris Chamberlain,Junior Gallete and Scott Shanle who are way better and will be taking his spot.If anything losing Will Smith will hurt us more.Its just time for our 2010 number one draft pick Cameron Jordan, Greg Romeus or Turk Mcbride to step up to the plate during his 4 game suspension.Sp really whats the problem here?Jonathan vilma will lose a years pay and Smith will lose 4 pay checks?Boo Hoo..They shouldnt of been apart of something that was illegal.none the less now that this investigation is over its time to sign Drew Brees and get this ball rolling.We will still have a winning season and still have a good chance of making it to the Superbowl in our own city.Now lets take care of business.Who Dat!!Two Dat!!

  13. skins21 says: May 3, 2012 11:22 AM

    How’s about the NFL finally show us the evidence then?

  14. jaltreality says: May 3, 2012 11:24 AM

    A few thoughts.

    1. In the law, people have the right to face their accuser. If the appeal stays within the NFL, players don’t exactly have the same legal rights as they might in court, but it does make sense. If they do take it to federal court, then they absolutely have the right to do so.

    You might not agree (probably because you have a grudge against the Saints, but your mind would change if it were your team), but imagine someone tried suspending you from your job for a year without pay, but refused to provide the evidence against you. You wouldn’t take their word either.

    2. She reviewed her work as “thorough, fair, and robust”. That’s not surprising. Who reviews their work as “cursory, unfair, and lazy”. Not saying it wasn’t, just that I’ll need more than her word.

    3. It’s not really independent if she was vetted, selected, hired and paid by the NFL.

  15. cakemixa says: May 3, 2012 11:25 AM

    So you mean the very-well paid (by the NFL) counsel agrees with the NFL? I’m shocked!

  16. mike83ri says: May 3, 2012 11:25 AM

    The Saints players KNOW they did wrong, but they know in the court of public opinion, there will be doubt if the details of the evidence isn’t provided. That can only happen if the NFL reveals details of the statements made by the whistle-blowers, which it likely promised would be confidential.

    These players are just trying to bully the NFL into a corner, knowing that they won’t go public with the details. On the flip side, the NFL is an independent organization, and there is no civil rule that circumvents the NFL’s bargained ability for the commissioner to suspend players. The NFL isn’t doing anything illegal, so the players can whine all they want and all they’re going to accomplish is a veil of childish denial of what everyone knows is the truth.

  17. dolphindad says: May 3, 2012 11:25 AM

    Saints source he spoke to said “The leagues findings are exaggerated. In contrast to the leagues contention the Saints bounty program existed for 3 years… It was limited to playoff games in the Superdome against Arizona and Minnesota.” The source then went to say, “This whole thing is one big joke. Except for the 2 games in 2009, the rest is a joke. No one has stood up and told the truth.”

    how stupid and naive does he think we are? yeah, i’m sure you used it only 2 playoff games. it worked so well against Favre in the NFC championship game that you decided you didnt need it in the SB vs the Colts. what he really is saying, is that he thinks thats the only evidence there is and so thats all they have to confess too. liek the husband who gets busted watching porn : “This is the only time i watched it!”

    The Saints continued refusal to accept responsiblity and claim the whole thing is overblown is exactly why the deserve these harsh punishments

  18. mike83ri says: May 3, 2012 11:28 AM

    Vick got reinstated by finally coming clean, showing regret and engaging in efforts to prevent the things he did from happening again elsewhere.

    It’s a sad day when we can say Vilma should take a page out of Michael Vick’s playbook.

  19. flannlv says: May 3, 2012 11:28 AM

    Goodell thought by suspending four players (down from 22-27) the league would be able to move on without any push back. The NFL could show how concerned they were with player safety and use this a defense to the players’ lawsuits, or at least as a mitigating factor. Well, the league’s word isn’t good enough. Neither is a paid consultant to the league standing behind the findings good enough. If the evidence is so damning and clear cut, why not give it to the players and their attorneys?

  20. golfnutt67 says: May 3, 2012 11:28 AM

    Ed Werder was just on SportsCenter. He is at the Saints facility today. He said a Saints source he spoke to said “The leagues findings are exaggerated. In contrast to the leagues contention the Saints bounty program existed for 3 years… It was limited to playoff games in the Superdome against Arizona and Minnesota.” The source then went to say, “This whole thing is one big joke. Except for the 2 games in 2009, the rest is a joke. No one has stood up and told the truth.”

    I hope that now with all the punishments dished out, the Saints start speaking up. I know the organization has taken the silent approach, but with the suspensions given, the players need to tell their side of the story. I really look forward to the players union challenging Goodell’s “facts” and “evidence” that all of the stuff we’re accused of happened.

    *****************************************

    Ed Werder is a hack and ESPN is trying to cover their a$$ with what they have reported about Lomis stuff. I am so sick of ESPN’s self-rightous attitude. As for the bounty stuff it sound pretty damning, but we only hear about it second hand

  21. thefam3132 says: May 3, 2012 11:28 AM

    Either whistle blowers should be protected or they shouldn’t be. I would think that forcing a whistle blower to testify might adversely affect the rest of their life. A current player would NEVER be accepted by any teammates ever again. It is also doubtful that any team of broadcasters (often made up of former players & coaches & those who wish they were a former player/coach) would ever be willing to work with him. If the NFL wants whistleblowers to continue to come forward they HAVE to protect him.

    I’m not saying that’s right or wrong… just the reality of the situation. (And yes, I am aware that they didn’t have to come forward- but I think the NFL probably appreciated that they did.)

  22. rayburns says: May 3, 2012 11:28 AM

    This is all just posturing.

    Everyone forgets that in the CBA that the players just signed, they gave Goodell almost unlimited powers to protect the integrity of the game in on-the-field matters.

    So, unless the NFLPA wants to try and negate the CBA that was just negotiated and open up that whole can of worms, there really isn’t a lot that can be done.

  23. dolphindad says: May 3, 2012 11:29 AM

    please stop comparing this to the judicial system. the NFL is not the government and they are not putting anyone in jail. they are a private employer. they ahve to follow the rules they contractually agreed to in the CBA and no more. playing football is a priveledge not a right and the NFL can set forth the rules for which players have to comply with to be allowed to play football, including not paying to injure other players and complying with investigations. NFL can decided what burden of proof they want to use to determine if rules are broken. If Vilma and company dont like it, they can go get jobs in the USFL or a burger king or wherever. if you dont like it, dont watch football.

  24. rufustfireflyjr says: May 3, 2012 11:32 AM

    Well, what else is she going to say? “Our case sucks?”

  25. mike83ri says: May 3, 2012 11:33 AM

    It is also doubtful that any team of broadcasters (often made up of former players & coaches & those who wish they were a former player/coach) would ever be willing to work with him.

    ———————–

    And yet Tedy Bruschi and Eric Mangini seem to be doing just fine.

  26. cwmorga says: May 3, 2012 11:34 AM

    It appears the 18,000 pages of evidence boil down to a bunch of he-said/she-said.

  27. solomon151 says: May 3, 2012 11:34 AM

    It’s crazy that these players continue to deny that they had a bounty system or pay to injury. Greg Williams said himself that he ran one. How much more do you need to know??? IF the man accused said he ran one, then why is that still the question?? These players know they took part in it and knew it was wrong. Take your punishment and move on..

  28. effedinLA says: May 3, 2012 11:35 AM

    That’s good enough for me!

  29. radrntn says: May 3, 2012 11:52 AM

    i just say innoncent until proven guilty…so prove it, and put it to rest. This way nfl can be done w/ it and move on

  30. mdd913 says: May 3, 2012 11:53 AM

    Sigh….more hearsay with nothing to back it up. If the NFL has such ironclad evidence, why do they refuse time and time again to produce it?

    SHOW US THE EVIDENCE MR. GOODELL.

  31. marcinhouston says: May 3, 2012 11:53 AM

    I find it surprising that someone who the NFL paid would say what the NFL asks them to.

  32. marcinhouston says: May 3, 2012 11:54 AM

    I find it surprising that someone who the NFL paid would say what the NFL asks them to. It is also shocking that a former prosecutor would feel that the evidence against defendants shows they are guilty.

  33. 4thqtrsaint says: May 3, 2012 11:56 AM

    I got one for you… Suh was suspended 2 games for stepping on another player. So Vilma offering money for big plays & lying about it is equivalent to purposely stomping on 8 players.

    Donte Stallworth got a year suspension for killing another human being while intoxicated. Guess what Vilma did is equivalent to that.

  34. cwmorga says: May 3, 2012 11:58 AM

    @solomon151 says: May 3, 2012 11:34 AM

    It’s crazy that these players continue to deny that they had a bounty system or pay to injury. Greg Williams said himself that he ran one. How much more do you need to know??? IF the man accused said he ran one, then why is that still the question?? These players know they took part in it and knew it was wrong. Take your punishment and move on..
    ——————–

    Show me where Gregg Williams said that he ran a pay for injury system. I’ll show you what I’ve seen:

    STATEMENT FROM GREGG WILLIAMS

    “I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, Mr. Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints. It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it. Instead of getting caught up in it, I should have stopped it. I take full responsibility for my role. I am truly sorry. I have learned a hard lesson and I guarantee that I will never participate in or allow this kind of activity to happen again.”

  35. peachyc39 says: May 3, 2012 11:58 AM

    If all of the players that gave statements and evidence of all this came forward we would have WW III right there in the NFL including the locker rooms.

    We saw what happened already when Shockey was called out for being a snitch. It would become a bigger circus than it already has been. There would be so many targets on everybody around the league. I don’t believe that Goodell would have punished anyone without being convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that those actions occurred.

    Not to mention that the reason why the punishments were so harsh is because they had already been warned and given plenty of opportunities to stop. The players obstructed the investigation by lying and covering up as well. So they had to pay for it.

    Even Darren Sharper was interviewed yesterday and he practically admitted that it took place, he just said that the amount was exaggerated because if it would have been that much a lot of people including him would have jumped all over it. So people are slowly but surely admitting this and they even had a written admission of guilt from Hargrove.

    As far as feeling sorry for the players that are in trouble…what about the players that were targeted? There needs to be more attention on them.

    All of the truth about this will surface whether we ever find out who all of the actual “secret” sources are that came forward. You cannot have 18,000 pieces of information and there not be truth to it.

  36. bearsandjazz says: May 3, 2012 11:59 AM

    My god people, you act like this is a major conspiracy…all you idiots crying for proof are just ridiculous. The nfl mentioned 22-27 players involved and they only suspended 3….meaning they could only justify suspensions for those 3 based in the evidence obtained. The NFL isnt a government hiding their classified info. Thy are trying to protect eh sport from players and coaches who do whatever to win. I’m going to laugh my a$$ off when the proof comes out proves they’re lying to each and every single one of you. The NFL is not going to make such a controversial move without proof. I can’t believe how cynical you people are. Goodell must be hiding the location of the alien that landed at Roswell and the identity f the second shooter on the grassy knoll. You people need toget a life…keep crying, keep begging for evidence, jeep calling goodell a tyrant, fact is something happened that was admitted to by the coaches….the players werent lead blindly…they made a choice and because they are cowardly men and can’t accept responsibility for their poor choices they were punished just like you or I would be. The lack of accountability is just sickening…..Funny how Vilma and smith are denying it but Hargrove isn’t.

  37. johnnyjagfan says: May 3, 2012 12:03 PM

    Nobody owes anybody any proof of anything unless the party asking claims for it and a Judge agrees. The NFL can keep its proof, or lack thereof, under seal and still suspend each player with total validity. If Vilma and everyone want to push it, they can sue. I wouldn’t call the League’s bet, here. I don’t think its a bluff.

  38. cliffordc05 says: May 3, 2012 12:06 PM

    The league and the NFLPA negotiated acceptable player conduct in the last agreement and the enforcement of said conduct. This is a private business and not a court of law. If the NFL wants to put pressure on an individual to testify they will use Coach Williams. If he wants to come back to the league in the near future he will have to co-operate with the NFL or his indeterminate suspension will last more than a few years.

  39. dannyabramowitz says: May 3, 2012 12:07 PM

    A few points:

    If the evidence is so strong, as Goodell has repeatedly stated, why the need for a third party to review it. Maybe the evidence isn’t so strong after all.

    Second, all you people criticizing the suspended Saints players, suppose you were called into your boss’s office and told that after an investigation it had been determined that you sexually harassed two female co-workers and were being suspended for a year. You say it’s not true, what is the evidence and who is accusing me. Your boss says I can’t tell you that, but trust me that we have the evidence. You ask if you can appeal his decision and he says yes, but I will hear the appeal. I ask you: would you think that was fair? Is that the way we do things in America?

    My suspicion is that Goodell does not have air-tight evidence, but saw the Saints as a convenient scapegoat to promote his “player safety” mantra. If so, he should be fired immediately.

  40. demo1984 says: May 3, 2012 12:07 PM

    I see alot of posters saying “why doesnt the NFL just let us see the evidence”

    My question is why do you think the NFL should show us anything ? The only people who need to see the evidence are the players involved and the players union. This is not a public trial with taxpayer money being used. it is a private company handing out in house penalties it is nobody elses business except the people directly involved.

    If a group a people at IBM are fired for breaking company rules do those of you who think the NFL should show you the evidence also believe IBM has a responsibility to show you or the general public what evidence they have that those employees broke company rules ? It is the exact same thing.

  41. cwmorga says: May 3, 2012 12:08 PM

    @bearsandjazz

    Funny how Vilma and smith are denying it but Hargrove isn’t.
    ———————–

    To be fair, look at Hargrove’s history. He’s used up 8 of his 9 NFL lives. He’d say he started the Great Chicago Fire to avoid a full year suspension.

    I’m not saying he’s lying. Just that he has the motive.

  42. bearsandjazz says: May 3, 2012 12:08 PM

    I love football and watching my Bears play, I love the game so if my team did what the saints or patriots dd I want them to be punished so they can get back to playing the game the right way. Yes everyone has a right to face their accuser blah blah. I would love to see Vilma and Williams in the same room trying to discredit the other. Williams can’t deny it now or he will never be reinstated, Vilma ” no I didn’t.” Williams “yes you did” Vilma “yes I did” case closed .

  43. deadeye says: May 3, 2012 12:10 PM

    “Without those fundamental protections, anyone can accuse anyone else of anything.”

    ==========================

    You didn’t read your own article Florio.

    ‘White characterized the punishments as arising from “very strong corroborating evidence,” both from “multiple, independent first-hand accounts” and the 18,000 documents gathered.’

    The key phrases here are “very strong corroborating evidence” and “multiple, independant first-hand accounts”. So yes, anyone can accuse anyone else of anything. But that by itself, by definition, does NOT rise to the level of corroborating, multiple, first-hand accounts.

  44. mike83ri says: May 3, 2012 12:14 PM

    Belichick admitted what he was doing, took responsibility, fully cooperated with the investigation, and went on 60 minutes to explain what happened.

    He didn’t get suspended.

    *Hint hint*

  45. olcap says: May 3, 2012 12:15 PM

    cakemixa says:
    May 3, 2012 11:25 AM

    So you mean the very-well paid (by the NFL) counsel agrees with the NFL? I’m shocked!
    ——————-

    Yes, because when we’re talking about people and their ability to be fair, honest and forthright, we definitely recognize that the people being punished for their part in the bountygate are certainly more trustworthy than a exemplary lawyer doing her job that she was hired to do.

    We all know that this whole thing was a setup by the NFL to destroy the Saints, right? Truth be told, the Saints had no bounty system, and Goodell just made it all up. THEN, they went out and hired Mary Jo White, and with a wink and a nod, it was understood that, in order for her to get paid, she should put her entire career on the line and just make stuff up also, and blame the Saints.

    Oh yes, this is SO much more believable!

  46. mark921129 says: May 3, 2012 12:16 PM

    dolphindad says:
    May 3, 2012 11:29 AM
    please stop comparing this to the judicial system. the NFL is not the government and they are not putting anyone in jail. they are a private employer. they ahve to follow the rules they contractually agreed to in the CBA and no more. playing football is a priveledge not a right and the NFL can set forth the rules for which players have to comply with to be allowed to play football, including not paying to injure other players and complying with investigations. NFL can decided what burden of proof they want to use to determine if rules are broken. If Vilma and company dont like it, they can go get jobs in the USFL or a burger king or wherever. if you dont like it, dont watch football.

    This about sums it up! Completely agree!!

  47. stellarperformance says: May 3, 2012 12:19 PM

    Proof! Proof! Give me proof! If the proof don’t fit, you must acquit!

    For crying out loud, only four guys received suspensions. This isn’t a murder trial. These guys aren’t going to Sing-Sing. Proof? You mean like signed confessions, or somebody wearing a wire out on the field? Word-of-mouth is enough in my book. I am guessing that these four players were singled out because they had the biggest “look at me I’m a tough guy” mouths. Live by the sword , die by the sword. Call it kismet, call it fate, call it whatever you want….but it’s going to stop right now and that is all that counts.

  48. mdd913 says: May 3, 2012 12:19 PM

    demo1984 says: May 3, 2012 12:07 PM

    I see alot of posters saying “why doesnt the NFL just let us see the evidence”

    My question is why do you think the NFL should show us anything ?

    —————————————————————-

    Because we are the people who made the NFL what it is today by giving the league our hard-earned dollars.

    We can take those dollars away too.

    I don’t understand this world you all seem to want where one is guilty until proven innocent and the burden of proof does not fall to the accuser.

    You all have a messed-up sense of justice.

  49. lolb23 says: May 3, 2012 12:26 PM

    Or do they think we’re too stupid to understand so we need a high and mighty New York City lawyer to verify it for us?
    ____________________________________

    Probably this. I mean, are you a lawyer?

  50. drbrousters says: May 3, 2012 12:26 PM

    “The leagues findings are exaggerated. In contrast to the leagues contention the Saints bounty program existed for 3 years… It was limited to playoff games in the Superdome against Arizona and Minnesota…Except for the 2 games in 2009, the rest is a joke.”

    Isn’t that enough? How many games would make it bad enough to suspend players who rewarded/were rewarded by others for intentionally injury another player?
    Why should they EVER be allowed to play again? They should be sued by the injured/targeted players.
    The game against the Vikings ended Favre’s career. His ankle was destroyed. Anyone who saw that game would have seen the intent of the Saints. He could make a lot of money if he files suit.
    AND if the identity of players who testified isn’t protected, no one will ever come forward again.

  51. hairpie says: May 3, 2012 12:30 PM

    Why do some of you people think youd be able to understand 50,000 pages of legal evidence against your team? we sure seem to have a lot of junior lawyers here.

  52. whoisthatteam says: May 3, 2012 12:31 PM

    solomon151 says:
    May 3, 2012 11:34 AM
    It’s crazy that these players continue to deny that they had a bounty system or pay to injury. Greg Williams said himself that he ran one. How much more do you need to know??? IF the man accused said he ran one, then why is that still the question?? These players know they took part in it and knew it was wrong. Take your punishment and move on..
    ………………………………………………………………………….

    All that was admitted to was a pay for performance system which players from nearly ever other teams have come out and said that they do. There was no pay for INJURY scheme ever. The word bounty was never used until the NFL came out with all of this nonsense. Do you know how easy it is to intentionally hurt someone on the football field? VERY EASY. Show me the evidence of on the field that players were injured over the last 3 years and that money changed hands directly as a result of injuries. Right now all i’ve seen is a fiery locker room speech from a guy who would also use Nat Geo films of animals attacking each other in the wild to get them fired up.

    Let me reitterate.

    NO PAY FOR INJURY SCHEME WAS EVER ADMITTED TO.

    Show me the injuries that were caused by this program along with the money that changed hands from one person to another.

  53. caps247 says: May 3, 2012 12:32 PM

    The Saints are going to end up as or possibly even worse than the Colts last year.

  54. nerdyturdy says: May 3, 2012 12:35 PM

    ““very strong corroborating evidence,” both from “multiple, independent first-hand accounts” and the 18,000 documents gathered.”

    “Without those fundamental protections, anyone can accuse anyone else of anything.”

    The factual reporting in this was OK. The opinion suffers horribly. Sounds to me like no one is accusing anyone frivolously as you imply. I haven’t seen the evidence, but it sure sounds significant. Did you even read the quote you cited?

    No, anyone cannot accuse anyone of anything and expect to get away with it, not without 18,000 pages of evidence and multiple independent first-hand accounts.

  55. lenrossen says: May 3, 2012 1:02 PM

    Lots of feedback:

    One point, this is not a criminal case, there is no jury, and no one is going to Jail. This is a workplace issue. Primary in these cases is Fairness and Thoroughness.

    Can’t wait for the season to begin -

  56. jaltreality says: May 3, 2012 1:05 PM

    dolphindad says:
    May 3, 2012 11:29 AM
    please stop comparing this to the judicial system.

    But, according to reports, including from Schefter, there is a strong possibility this battle will go beyond an appeal and into federal court (much like the StarCaps case a few years back). So the comparisons to the judicial system may be very just.

  57. jaltreality says: May 3, 2012 1:08 PM

    hairpie says:
    May 3, 2012 12:30 PM
    Why do some of you people think youd be able to understand 50,000 pages of legal evidence against your team? we sure seem to have a lot of junior lawyers here.

    You release it to the public. The media scours through it. They (hopefully) do their job and present the relevant tidbits. Sorta like anything else.

    Any knowledge you have of any evidence in any trial is, likely, gleaned in a similar manner. Simple.

  58. jaltreality says: May 3, 2012 1:09 PM

    “caps247 says:
    May 3, 2012 12:32 PM
    The Saints are going to end up as or possibly even worse than the Colts last year.”

    Biggest hit with be suspensions within the coaching staff. Two of the four players suspended are no longer with the Saints. One will be suspended for only 4 games (Will Smith). The other (Vilma) was looking at getting cut for performance reasons, and they’ve signed an upgrade at LB. I don’t see it having the effect you anticipate.

  59. lolb23 says: May 3, 2012 1:09 PM

    Lots of backwoods lawyers in Saint country. Who knew?

  60. vtopa says: May 3, 2012 1:15 PM

    What was she going to say? “Thanks for the fat check Mr. Goodell, but I don’t see any good evidence.”?

    Who cares what a flunky lawyer paid for by the NFL says about the case? Let’s see the evidence. Come on ESPN and Florio? Can’t you guys get your hands on some of this stuff?

  61. beastup22 says: May 3, 2012 1:17 PM

    What’s the big deal with releasing your evidence? Goodell has already dragged this out through the public for months, so he isn’t exactly keeping it under wraps. The NFL leaked the info about Vilma but now wont release the evidence against him and the other players.

  62. robf2010 says: May 3, 2012 1:22 PM

    “Why do some of you people think youd be able to understand 50,000 pages of legal evidence against your team?”

    The vast majority of those 50k pages are supposedly 3 years worth of printed internal team emails … probably in 96pt font.

  63. steelersmichele says: May 3, 2012 1:23 PM

    For those of you bringing up the law and how people have.the right to face their accusers, I think you forget about the roethlisberger situation. The law/legal system said there wasn’t enough evidence to arrest or prosecute him, but Ben was punished by the league anyway, and most posters on here were glad he was suspended.

    You can’t have it both ways–if Ben could be punished by the NFL and the legal system didn’t “count”, then why should the law have any bearing in this situation?

  64. patsfan22 says: May 3, 2012 2:24 PM

    All you Saints fans claiming there were no victims in any of this, two words:

    Brett Farve

    He was probably the only QB other than maybe Roelisthberger that could have finished the game taking the hits that he did. Vilma just needs to take his year suspension and be thankful it’s not a lifetime ban.

  65. Manbearpig says: May 3, 2012 2:28 PM

    So fusion, the anonymous reporting of the guy with a creeper stache who spends the majority of his time parked outside the Cowboys practice facility is your source eh? You’re right. The Saints will get off scott free.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  66. saintsnutcase says: May 3, 2012 2:31 PM

    what a hoebag!!! protecting her sources?? she is not a reporter protecting sources but a lawyer who should know that a legitimate court case would allow the accused to meet face2face with the accuser. No wonder that she was a FORMER prosecutor. she must have sucked at prosecuting people. I am not a bottom sucking lawyer but at least have some knowledge of some from watching Law and Order. she is paid by the NFL and therefore biased… “independent” ??? like my butt is independent of my body..

  67. wetpaperbag3 says: May 3, 2012 3:21 PM

    Sure, the league can “say” it has a mountain of evidence, but without FULL DISCLOSURE, it’s worthless banter. I’m against what Greg Williams and other are accused of (or some self-admitted), but I am even more against a commissioner’s office that “says” he has evidence but won’t disclose it to the media nor will he even disclose it to the players involved. And yet, he has the authority to pass judgement, make punishments, and hears all appeals.

    But then again, this is Goddell’s Modus Operandi. He pulled the same thing with Spygate when he ordered the Pats video tapes be destroyed without disclosing what was on it.

    What was on those Patriots tapes?

    What is the “strong” evidence on the Saints players?

  68. macbull says: May 3, 2012 3:24 PM

    The NFL hired this lawyer on Wednesday…and today, Thursday, she can report…

    Quote: “White, who was retained by the NFL but who described her work as an “independent review” of the process, said that she has reviewed all evidence and that the factual basis for the punishments imposed against the players is “quite strong.” She also described the overall process as “thorough, fair, and robust.”

    White characterized the punishments as arising from “very strong corroborating evidence,” both from “multiple, independent first-hand accounts” and the 18,000 documents gathered.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I’m sorry folks…I’m not buying this opinion of Lawyer White…way too fast…too convenient, IMO.

    The NFL’s case has an odor of “something is rotten in Denmark”.

    Another point…I have never witnessed the degree of secrecy being exhibited by the NFL in this case.
    …”unnamed persons” testifying in support of Commissioner Goodell and the NFL…will the NFL allow them to be cross examined by the accused?

    Should we just assume these “unnamed persons” are telling the truth and their integrity is unimpeachable?

    This case does not concern terrorism or the mafia…no one died and no one had their life threatened…matter of fact, there wasn’t even a flag thrown for roughing. There is absolutely no need for this level of secrecy in this case.

    The Constitution of the United States, Sixth Amendment, gives the accused the right to face their accusers. I realize this Constitutional Right pertains to “criminal prosecutions” and the NFL could claim this case is not criminal, therefore they are not required to afford the accused their Sixth Amendment rights.

    If the NFL’s evidence is so strong, it should have no problem surviving the court of public opinion. But, as long as Roger Goodell and the NFL operate under this veil of secrecy, with unnamed sources that hide their identity…it raises questions about the NFL’s case against these four individuals.

    This case should be litigated according to the rule of law of the United States.

  69. majbobby says: May 3, 2012 3:34 PM

    Y does the NFL owe any of us the evidence. They don’t. They don’t owe it to the media either. The Union should see it.

    Keep it up NFL. Clean up the sport.

  70. mogat1 says: May 3, 2012 3:56 PM

    This is a business they dont have to tell them anything and if the players dont like it or are not happy with their employer then go find another job.

  71. jc327 says: May 3, 2012 4:16 PM

    “How’s about the NFL finally show us the evidence then?”

    The NFL doesn’t have to show us anything. The “court of public opinion” is not a real court. This is just the way things work.

  72. saints25 says: May 3, 2012 4:17 PM

    In response to the conference call the NFL organized Thursday morning with Mary Jo White, a New York litigator and former federal prosecutor, the players’ union released a statement from its outside counsel, Richard Smith. Smith is also a former prosecutor.”I was at the meeting with the NFL’s lead investigators in March. She wasnot there. Anyone, especially former prosecutors like both of us, knowthat what the league provided could never be called ‘substantial evidence’of player participation in a pay-to-injure program. Worse yet, Mary Joprovided nothing new or compelling today beyond another press briefing. Myguess is that a veteran FBI agent like Joe Hummel would agree as well.”

  73. beeronthefridge says: May 3, 2012 5:38 PM

    Saints players and in-bred fans current favorite song:

    Turn out the light, the party is over………..

  74. jpspear says: May 3, 2012 9:58 PM

    beeronthefridge, what is it with you and the in-bred fans comments? You seem to be rather obsessed with the idea. If it makes you feel better about your own “situation” then go on ahead. We understand. Actually, not really.

  75. jpspear says: May 3, 2012 10:00 PM

    “The NFL doesn’t have to show us anything. The “court of public opinion” is not a real court. This is just the way things work.”
    If you’re going to take a year and millions of dollars from a man’s career, you need to show evidence. Why are the haters so afraid of showing evidence? They should be clamoring for it unless they think it won’t back up the accusations.

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