Earlier today, we reported that the declaration signed by former Saints (now Packers) defensive end Anthony Hargrove wasn’t harvested by the NFL but submitted by the union. As a result, we’re now very intrigued by what the declaration says.
I’m still trying to get my eyes on it — and I eventually will (especially if someone else shakes it loose from the tree). For now, though, the May 2 letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell to Hargrove mentioning that the declaration came from the NFLPA makes general reference to some of the contents of the declaration.
Goodell tells Hargrove that his “declaration makes clear that the [pay-for-performance/bounty] program existed at the Saints, and establishes that you knew about it and participated in it.” Goodell also tells Hargrove that the “declaration acknowledges that you lied, but claims that you were instructed to do so by the coaching staff.” Goodell explains to Hargrove that, if the coaches told him to lie, “it in no way absolved you from your obligation to cooperate with the investigation.”
Goodell’s words suggest that the league doesn’t necessarily believe that Hargrove was told to lie — which possibly means that the coaches who have admitted to everything else regarding the program denied telling Hargrove to lie.
We still want to see the full Hargrove declaration, but it now appears very unlikely that the declaration admits that any players contributed money to a “pay-for-injury” program or that any players deliberately tried to injure opponents.