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Hargrove says Williams, Vitt told him to “just play dumb”

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Last week, I vowed to get my eyes on the declaration from Anthony Hargrove, which had been submitted by the NFLPA to the NFL in connection with the bounty investigation.  It took some time and a little more effort than I’m accustomed to exerting (i.e., any), but I finally got it.

The declaration is significant both for what it says, and for what it doesn’t say.

As to what it says, Hargrove contends that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt both told Hargrove to “just play dumb” about the existence of a bounty program when questioned by NFL Security in 2010, when the league initially investigated the situation.

Hargrove contends that Williams first raised the situation in a one-on-one meeting.  Williams first told Hargrove that he would be “plugged in at left end” for 2010, Hargrove’s preferred position.  Hargrove claims that he later realized Williams’ suggestion “might have had something to do” with Williams’ subsequent instructions regarding the bounty investigation, and that Hargrove eventually was “never given the opportunity to compete for the starting left defensive end job.”

Williams then told Hargrove that the NFL was coming to investigate a complaint that the Saints had placed a “bounty” on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre prior to the 2009 NFC title game.  Williams explained that some people believed Hargrove had told Vikings defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy about the existence of the bounty, given that they previously played together with the Rams.

Williams said he was going to deny the existence of a bounty, and that Hargrove should deny it, too.  Per Hargrove, Williams said, “Those motherf-ckers [the NFL] have been trying to get me for years,” and that, if they “stay on the same page, this will blow over.”

Vitt, per Hargrove, also said to deny the existence of the bounty program, and to remember that Vitt “brought [Hargrove] into the League and brought [Hargrove] to the Saints.”

Hargrove says that, when meeting with NFL Security he “denied all knowledge of a bounty or bounty program.”  Roughly a week later, Williams asked Hargrove if he stuck to the story.  Hargrove said he responded in the way Williams and Vitt had instructed — Hargrove denied any knowledge of a bounty program.

Now for what Hargrove’s declaration doesn’t say.  At no point in the declaration does Hargrove admit to any knowledge of the existence of a bounty program.  Indeed, at no point does Hargrove claim that he was told to say anything different from what he would have otherwise said, without coaching.

In other words, Hargrove never says he was told to lie.  Instead, he says he was told what to say, without commenting on whether he believed what he was told to say to be the truth.

And so, when the NFL said last week in the announcement of the suspensions of Hargrove and three other players that the declaration “established not only the existence of the program with the Saints, but also that he knew about and participated in it,” that statement was blatantly incorrect.  And when “independent” counsel Mary Jo White explained in a conference call last week that the “thrust” of the declaration was Hargrove’s acknowledgment of “the nature of the program and his participation in it,” that was blatantly incorrect, too.

It may simply be semantics, given that Williams and Vitt apparently confessed to the existence of a bounty program — which necessarily means that Hargrove had lied.  But in his declaration he never says that he lied, and he never admits that the bounty program existed.

The flaw in the NFL’s comments about the Hargrove declaration is subtle, but significant.  The plain language of the Hargrove declaration as compared to the NFL’s characterization of it shows that the league is playing a little fast and loose with the facts.  Which makes it even more critical that the league stop spoon-feeding the NFLPA and the media characterizations and summaries and conclusions, and that it start coughing up the raw data on which the characterizations and summaries and conclusions were based.

Back when I was practicing law, I’d periodically explain to a jury that, upon encountering a piece of rancid meat in a pot of beef stew, the reaction isn’t to keep eating but to dump it all out.  Though the league’s mischaracterization of Hargrove’s declaration may not justify ignoring the full weight of the bounty evidence, it means that, at a minimum, someone must have an opportunity to scrutinize all facts, apart from the skewed, self-serving filter the league has applied when talking about the case.

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110 Responses to “Hargrove says Williams, Vitt told him to “just play dumb””
  1. lolb23 says: May 7, 2012 2:09 PM

    They tell Brees the same thing.

  2. lolb23 says: May 7, 2012 2:10 PM

    ‘Just Play Dumb’ is the Jets official war cry

  3. bchapman2011 says: May 7, 2012 2:11 PM

    And now the ugliness begins……Sides are turning on each other. It was only a matter of time.
    I like how Vitt tried to come off as Mr Goodguy. Looks like we was not as inocent as he lead on to be.

  4. hockeyfootball98 says: May 7, 2012 2:12 PM

    Drew Brees would still like an explanation…..

  5. cakemixa says: May 7, 2012 2:15 PM

    Anyone else hear that? It’s the NFL’s foundation cracking because they have no real evidence whatsoever.

  6. Carl Gerbschmidt says: May 7, 2012 2:15 PM

    NFL coaches have a lot of power over the players.
    I can see why Hargrove might have gone along with the scheme – if he spoke up, he could have been drummed out the league permanently.

    Hargrove’s suspension should be reduced to 1 game. Williams, on the other hand, should receive a permanent lifetime ban. With zero chance to ever be reinstated.

  7. Big D in D says: May 7, 2012 2:15 PM

    So even though Williams and Vitt have essentially admitted the existance of the bounty program the players should be forgiven or their being guilty of participating should be ignored because of the way in which the declaration was interpretted?

  8. santolonius says: May 7, 2012 2:17 PM

    if you find a rotten piece of meat in stew throw out the stew – yes. if you find a bent nail in a box of nails throw away the whole box – well of course not. i love the extravagance of lawyer analogies.

  9. talkintrashallday says: May 7, 2012 2:18 PM

    Now Williams must take him out before it gets to court….

  10. northeastkiller says: May 7, 2012 2:18 PM

    “In other words, Hargrove never says he was told to lie. Instead, he says he was told what to say, without commenting on whether he believed what he was told to say to be the truth…but in his declaration he never says that he lied, and he never admits that the bounty program existed.”

    You should probably shoot an E-Mail over to Jason Cole at Yahoo, who broke this story, because his headline is HARGROVE TOLD TO LIE. Apparently he has hidden chapters to the declaration or is prone to making wild assumptions. Probably the latter.

  11. panther17 says: May 7, 2012 2:19 PM

    You’d think an innocent man would of put, “There was no bounty program in place ever while I was Saint” into his declaration.

    No admitting to it but no denial either.

  12. stubbyjones says: May 7, 2012 2:21 PM

    “just play dumb”. Not much of a stretch for Hargrove..

  13. superjroch says: May 7, 2012 2:21 PM

    Spoken like a lawyer. Obviously he knew about the bounty program, or his declaration would have said, “When they asked me to deny the existence of a bounty program, I said, ‘What bounty program?'”

  14. jealst says: May 7, 2012 2:21 PM

    Wait… So, the league lied to us? They wouldn’t! #Sarcasm

  15. crackills says: May 7, 2012 2:22 PM

    Funny how quickly people fold when it’s time to save their own butt.
    Not saying Williams doesn’t deserve it.. but still funny.

  16. kathyisintheroom says: May 7, 2012 2:23 PM

    The leagues case is looking weaker and weaker, and Goodell is appearing more and more like a power crazed lunatic, running amok with a clear bias against the Saints.

  17. cwmorga says: May 7, 2012 2:24 PM

    No wonder Goodell doesn’t want to release the “evidence”. He doesn’t have anything, or at least certainly not enough to take away 2 mens’ livelihoods for the entire season, and 5 more for part of the season. So far all we know for sure is that the NFL and its “independent” counsel have been caught in a lie.

    This time Roger might have bitten off more than he can chew.

  18. dannyabramowitz says: May 7, 2012 2:26 PM

    Produce the evidence Roger, that is if you even have it.

    What a sham this is. So the NFL and their paid “independent” attorney blatantly misrepresented Hargrove’s affidavit, which is their primary piece of evidence.

    I hope Vilma takes Goodell to court and the end result is Goodell being fired.

  19. catquick says: May 7, 2012 2:27 PM

    Hey cakemixa….I guess actually ADMITTING to it isn’t proof to you, huh? “Your honor, the defendant admits to all charges in the indictment, but you’re not gonna take his word for it, are ya?” “He’s a liar!!!”

  20. NationalFlagFootballLeague says: May 7, 2012 2:28 PM

    Oh how this is starting to look really bad for the league.
    Goodell is the NFL’S Captain Queeg………….

    Ahh, but the strawberries that’s… that’s where I had them. They laughed at me and made jokes but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and with… geometric logic… that a duplicate key to the wardroom icebox DID exist, and I’d have produced that key if they hadn’t of pulled the Caine out of action. I, I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officers…

  21. iamwhodat says: May 7, 2012 2:28 PM

    This is getting good! I got a feeling this will backfire on Roger Goodell, and I’m not saying b/c I’m a Saints fan either. Release the evidence, if your so sure of what you have. If this was just a”pay for performance” thing and your suspending the coaches and GM is one thing (money paid outside of contracts) … but suspending players for bounties, which was basically locker room rhetoric. Even Greg Williams speech is basically locker room talk… Not one Saints defensive player was flagged for a illegal hit. And before I forget didn’t, Devin Thomas of the Giants said they targeted Williams on PR b/c they were aware of his concussion problems? Ironic isn’t it? If you were really concerned about player safety maybe you should have at least fined Thomas for his comments. Release the evidence and put this story to bed please!

  22. hey804 says: May 7, 2012 2:29 PM

    I’ll bet at this point, if they could do it all over again, the NFL would have never made the Saints controversial lockeroom practices public.

    Egg all over everyone’s face, no winners…only losers. Saints, NFL, NFLPA, and fans. All losers. Hindsight is 20/20 but lets hope this is a teachable moment for when the issue of HGH starts to rise to the service. It’s only a matter of time.

  23. superjroch says: May 7, 2012 2:29 PM

    Even if this was in court, which it isn’t, if given the declaration to read, 12 out of 12 jurors would conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that Hargrove knew of the bounty program. Bizarre how anybody could argue otherwise based on what we read here.

  24. montsta says: May 7, 2012 2:31 PM

    Lawyer habits die hard, aye Florio?

  25. jus10jonez says: May 7, 2012 2:34 PM

    If Hargrove didn’t know about it, why would he be told to deny it when asked about it? Florio, just because he didn’t say that he lied doesn’t mean that he didn’t lie. No wonder you don’t practice law anymore.

  26. drunkenjunk says: May 7, 2012 2:35 PM

    nice post florio

  27. cowboycjn says: May 7, 2012 2:36 PM

    hockeyfootball98 says:
    Drew Brees would still like an explanation…..
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    Man you tell a joke once it’s funny, second time it’s Ok, third time it is darn right boring -get the picture? If you can’t think of anything original and just repeat the same thing over and over – makes you seem as smart as Polly the Parrot, “Polly want a cracker.” Get a life, I can teach a monkey new things from week to week.

  28. nflsecurity862 says: May 7, 2012 2:37 PM

    2009 Super Bowl Champions- New Orleans Saints*

  29. kathyisintheroom says: May 7, 2012 2:40 PM

    As soon as the players and the attorneys humiliate Goodell, I hope Tom Benson and Sean Payton sue the Gestapo as well.

    It’s so apparent(except for the Goodell tea baggees) that he has gone completely overboard in his clear unjust assault on the Saints. He needed a sacrificial lamb to show the former players attorneys that the league is serious about player safety.
    Problem is, he has gone pure loco and is fabricating evidence where there is none.
    If I am an owner, i think it might start becoming necessary to apologize to Mr. Benson, and quietly inform the Gestapo that he is putting the league at serious litigation jeaporday and it could mean his job.

  30. jpb12 says: May 7, 2012 2:40 PM

    You need players to talk to you.

    And you need a player friendly site for that to happen.

    You should declare your conflict of interest.

  31. ghostofnflpresent says: May 7, 2012 2:41 PM

    There isn’t proof…it was all CASH bounty scheme!

    Saints were caught…end of story

  32. dvdman123 says: May 7, 2012 2:41 PM

    Where is the evidence? Perry Mason would have had a heart attack by now. Seriously though why put your cards on the table if you’re the NFL if you really have 50,000 pages of evidence?

  33. mylionsroaring says: May 7, 2012 2:42 PM

    This is getting old!!

    Just call a duck a duck and be done!!

  34. booker1974 says: May 7, 2012 2:43 PM

    Just a reminder for the haters, but Williams’ “confession” confessed to a “pay for performance program,” not a bounty system. Vitt’s only statements that I’m aware of state that the team is being punished for “the spoken word, not the clenched fist,” and Payton and Loomis’ statements merely accepted responsibility for whatever happened on their watch. No where has anyone admitted to a bounty program.

  35. hbegley6672 says: May 7, 2012 2:44 PM

    Mike, you couldn’t be more off base. You don’t have a meeting with someone, to tell them what to say, unless you need to get your stories straight. When you tell the truth you don’t need to get your stories straight. “This will all blow over”, its clear that he’s referring to its existence. Read between the lines

  36. kungfubillysims says: May 7, 2012 2:47 PM

    If there was ever any question as to whether or not Williams should be banned for life this should answer it. What a complete scumbag.

  37. buzzardpointlookout says: May 7, 2012 2:47 PM

    “Though the league’s mischaracterization of Hargrove’s declaration may not justify ignoring the full weight of the bounty evidence, it means that, at a minimum, someone must have an opportunity to scrutinize all facts, apart from the skewed, self-serving filter the league has applied when talking about the case.”

    _________________________________

    Time to practice what you preach, bro. Publish Hargrove’s declaration so we, like you, can form our own opinions on its relative merit.

  38. pftcensorssuck says: May 7, 2012 2:49 PM

    superjroch says:May 7, 2012 2:21 PM

    Spoken like a lawyer. Obviously he knew about the bounty program, or his declaration would have said, “When they asked me to deny the existence of a bounty program, I said, ‘What bounty program?’”
    ———————————————————-
    THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Stop and think for ONE MINUTE, folks…… if there WAS no bounty system in place, why would Williams and Vitt even NEED to tell Hargrove to say there WASN’T one????????????

    “At no point in the declaration does Hargrove admit to any knowledge of the existence of a bounty program. Indeed, at no point does Hargrove claim that he was told to say anything different from what he would have otherwise said, without coaching.”

    “In other words, Hargrove never says he was told to lie. Instead, he says he was told what to say, without commenting on whether he believed what he was told to say to be the truth.”

    Semantics, Mike, plain and simple.

    Hargrove said that he was told to DENY the existance of a bounty system. He didn’t say he was told to lie, which in essence is the SAME THING. It’s the “sin of ommission”; “I denied there was a bounty system, I didn’t say I was told to lie”.

    How is an investigator supposed to know that instead of simply asking the question “is there a bounty system on the New Orleans Saints?”, he needed to ask the specific question “did anyone in the Saints organization tell you to LIE about there being a bounty program?”

  39. shzastl says: May 7, 2012 2:55 PM

    “So even though Williams and Vitt have essentially admitted the existance of the bounty program the players should be forgiven or their being guilty of participating should be ignored because of the way in which the declaration was interpretted?”

    That the bounty program existed isn’t the point. The point is that the NFL is relying on this piece specifically to punish Hargrove for his participation in it (Mary Jo says Hargrove acknowledges his participation in the declaration), yet the declaration says nothing about his participation. It only proves that Williams and Vitt wanted a cover up, nothing about what the players did or didn’t do.

    Mike, why not post a copy of it so we can all see what it says?

  40. mullman7675 says: May 7, 2012 2:55 PM

    @mylionsroaring: Exactly! If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I don’t have to be told it’s a duck to know it’s a duck. What a traveshamockery this has turned out to be….

  41. cwmorga says: May 7, 2012 2:56 PM

    @dvdman123 says: May 7, 2012 2:41 PM

    Where is the evidence? Perry Mason would have had a heart attack by now. Seriously though why put your cards on the table if you’re the NFL if you really have 50,000 pages of evidence?
    —————–

    The 50k pages is now 18k.

    The 23-27 players involved is now 4.

    The damning confession by Hargrove doesn’t exist.

    You see where I’m going with this.

  42. mdpickles says: May 7, 2012 2:56 PM

    So this scandal is getting worse…NICE!

  43. nflofficeadmin says: May 7, 2012 2:57 PM

    Now Williams is gonna test that outside jawbone. Let’s see if Hargrove “wants to be a tough guy or a fake @ss primadonna”, as Mr Williams famously said.

  44. shzastl says: May 7, 2012 3:00 PM

    “Even if this was in court, which it isn’t, if given the declaration to read, 12 out of 12 jurors would conclude beyond any reasonable doubt that Hargrove knew of the bounty program. Bizarre how anybody could argue otherwise based on what we read here.”

    But the players aren’t being suspended simply because they knew about it. Otherwise, everyone on the defense would have been suspended, like 20 guys. They only suspended four, meaning they chose these four because of something more they did besides just knowing about it. This declaration says nothing about what Hargrove’s role was, just that he was asked to cover it up. Is he suspended just because he lied about it?

  45. rolltide510 says: May 7, 2012 3:01 PM

    For the people demanding the commissioner present evidence, is this how people act when they’re not guilty? Do coaches order players to lie about things that aren’t going on? Heck, even if there’s a cover up without a crime, ordering a player to lie to the league seems worth a year suspension on its own.

  46. careerender56 says: May 7, 2012 3:05 PM

    People, these decisions are not made in a vacum. if Goodell does not come down hard on the saintscoaches and players, it serves as ammuniction in concussion lawsuits. he MUST make an example of htem bor the protection of the league long term future.

    Claiming that Goodell is doing something terrible to these players is ridiculous, they have made MILLIONS, they can survive their suspensions, not to mention keeping htem from getting any more wear and tear, Goddell may actually make their careers a little longer.

  47. truthfactory says: May 7, 2012 3:05 PM

    Sorry, but the TRUTH is clearly there was a bounty system in play for knocking gus out. You can point to technicalities on the verbiage of certain statements, but there was indeed a bounty system and thats all that counts… Its very clear from everything Ive heard and read. Even players dont deny it, they simply say “where’s the proof”?

    Sorry, this isnt a court of law. Goodell has ultimate say and he doesnt need credit card receipts to prove that this was going on.

    They got busted, got their punishment, now lets move on.

  48. theandy59 says: May 7, 2012 3:08 PM

    I’m having a hard time following your logic here – you’re splitting hairs. Perhaps he doesn’t actually admit to the program’s existence, but one can quite reasonably infer from the language used that the program existed. Otherwise, there would be no reason for the conversation to take place to begin with.

    For those who still can’t see this with clarity, please tell me in some kind of intelligent fashion what Goodell gains from falsely accusing the Saints of these charges? This whole thing does nothing but give the league a black eye, and I’m sure his preference would be that none of this ever had to see the light of day.

  49. hawkforlife says: May 7, 2012 3:08 PM

    “Back when I was practicing law”

    Seems like you are still trying to practice law.

    Just like all the lawyers on the morning talk shows that throw anything on the wall hoping some will stick then crying that the case shouldn’t be tried in public.

    Face it, you gave up law to be a sports blogger. Heck of a move up.

  50. funkylovemonkey says: May 7, 2012 3:09 PM

    Wait, what?

    Isn’t the statement “Just play dumb” an admission there was something to hide? It’s the equivalent of saying “Just feign ignorance” or “Just pretend you don’t know what they’re talking about.”

    All those are just nice ways of saying “Lie.”

    You don’t have to tell someone to feign ignorance if there isn’t anything to feign ignorance of. If there weren’t a bounty program then the appropriate thing would be to “Just tell the truth” or not say anything at all.

    This sounds like a lot of lawyer speak to me.

    But at least you gave lots of Saints fans a moment to feel self righteous.

  51. vikesfansteve says: May 7, 2012 3:12 PM

    Once again the real story is the ref’s who let the dirty play go on. Sometimes right in front of them with no flag. The NFL is hesitant to look into the tarnished officiating for fear of what they might find. Like what happened in the NBA, it would open a can of worms but it needs to be done. Either they refs were paid off or the most incompetent crew in NFL history & if they were that bad then how did they get selected to officiate title games? Dirty refs more than dirty Saints players.

  52. nard100 says: May 7, 2012 3:13 PM

    Interesting. Soooooo, hargrove was told to “play dumb”. About what? If there was no bounty program or if he didn’t know there was a bounty program, he wouldn’t be lying when he said there was no bounty program, right? But he wasn’t told that was he. He was told to PLAY DUMB. Also, Saints fans, you assume that hargrove’s testimony is the only information they have and you said you wanted proof. What you have here is proof that Hargrove was coached to give a statement and that he would be rewarded for doing so (a place in the starting lineup). Why would you have to do that if there was nothing to hide? i said it before and I’ll say it again, if you keep pushing this it will only get more and more embarrasing. If Tome Benson and his team were innocent, wouldn’t he have been more vocal by now. When you look at the way Joe Vitt has responded to Bountygate and the eavesdropping accusation, there’s two very different responses. Eavesdropping = vehement denial. Bountygate = mumble, mumble. I don’t hate the Saints at all, I don’t wish them ill and it’s juvenile to label with sweeping terms the fans of the rest of the teams in the league to suit your purpose (haters, everybody is doing it etc.) When you do so, you remind us all of NE fans during Spygate, cause they said all the same things. In view of that, does your team “like everybody does”, videotape and steal signals from opposing teams? Thought not. By the way I don’t believe the accusation about Vitt listening on on visiting teams radio transmissions.

  53. boobsmcgoo says: May 7, 2012 3:15 PM

    nflsecurity862 says:May 7, 2012 2:37 PM

    2009 Super Bowl Champions- New Orleans Saints*

    ———————–

    How original. manbearpig posted that about 2,420 times.

    Did the Saints bounty system exist? Probably.

    Is the punishment of the Saints coaches, GM, and players valid? For the sake of argument, OK, I’ll say yes.

    Did the Saints bounty system affect the outcome of any of their 13 wins in 2009, or any of their playoff games, or the Super Bowl? NO.

  54. east96st says: May 7, 2012 3:22 PM

    “As soon as the players and the attorneys humiliate Goodell, I hope Tom Benson and Sean Payton sue the Gestapo as well.”

    Since time is quickly running out for the few remaining surviving men and women, perhaps you should seek out a Holocaust survivor and/or a WWII veteran and find out, firsthand, how ignorant and insulting your use of the word “Gestapo” is to the millions of men, women, and children slaughtered during World War II. If somehow you managed to graduate from High School with this level of ignorance, may I suggest you contact a lawyer. Seems to me you have an excellent case to make that you never received an education at all. To compare a trivial thing like “bountygate” to the most ruthless and fanatical wing of the Nazi party is disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself. You’re an embarrassment to the entire nation.

  55. blondebombr says: May 7, 2012 3:26 PM

    Fire Goodell?

    lol some people don’t understand.

    Goodell is employed by the owners. All 32 of them. And they think he’s doing an unbelievably good job. Especially after having Paul Tangliebeau.

    This ‘take Goodell to court and then he’s fired’ talk doesn’t make sense.

    Even if he is taken to court, and lets say he loses, and Greg Williams, Payton & Vilma all come back and dont miss any games. He still won’t get fired.

    Because his bosses like him.

  56. johngaltwho says: May 7, 2012 3:27 PM

    As a Packer fan – I say, let Hargrove sit out 8 games. If he can warm up in game 9 against the Cardinals practice during the bye week and then be fresh for the last 7 games, 5 of which are divisional – that’d be just fine.

  57. infectorman says: May 7, 2012 3:27 PM

    As to what it says, Hargrove contends that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt both told Hargrove to “just play dumb” about the existence of a bounty program when questioned by NFL Security in 2010, when the league initially investigated the situation.

    ***********

    Here’s a hint: Playing Dumb is the equivalent of LYING.

    Lets see if I got this straight: a player (Hargrove) that purportedly revealed to a colleague and former teammate(Jimmie Kennedy) on the Rams, the existence of a Bounty on another NFL player( Brett Favre), was asked to “play dumb” by a coach (Joe Vitt & Gregg Williams), when the NFL investigators came to ask him about it.

    What kind of person do you ask to “play dumb”?
    A person who KNOWS something occurred, or a person that DOESN’T know about anything to have occurred?
    Seriously? You people believe this SH*T?

    Florio, you go on to sermon us about what the statement “didn’t say” ? For real? Split hairs much? You sound like OJ’s defense team- if the soaking-wet and then dried out, shrunken leather glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit!

    As though what “wasn’t said” has any REAL bearing on the fact that the coaches whose “A$$es were on the hot seat, instructed a player to LIE outright to the investigators and obstruct the process of an investigation? Why would his statement say anything more than the bare minimum of what was necessary to appear as a cooperative witness? You want he should hand over his entire team and coaching tree to you!?!?!?
    In the real world, that would be called Obstruction of Justice and Conspiracy.

    “Indeed, at no point does Hargrove claim that he was told to say anything different from what he would have otherwise said, without coaching.”

    In other words, he was gonna lie all along to save his ass and his teams prospects.

  58. minnesconsin says: May 7, 2012 3:27 PM

    booker1974 says:
    May 7, 2012 2:43 PM
    Just a reminder for the haters, but Williams’ “confession” confessed to a “pay for performance program,” not a bounty system. Vitt’s only statements that I’m aware of state that the team is being punished for “the spoken word, not the clenched fist,” and Payton and Loomis’ statements merely accepted responsibility for whatever happened on their watch. No where has anyone admitted to a bounty program.
    ————–

    Except for the fact that Williams didn’t even appeal his ban.

    I’m not prone to hyperbole or one to go for conspiracy theory, but this whole thing is starting to reek of posturing by the league. I’m starting to entertain the possibility that the league has paid off Payton, Loomis, Vitt, and Williams to shut their mouths and bide their time. Sure, 3 of the 4 appealed, but none of them contested the fact that Goodell oversaw those appeals.

    I think the league’s evidence is probably pretty thin, and Goodell overplayed his hand when it comes to the player suspensions — they’re not nearly as ready to take one for the team. And while there may be evidence that these things were said, there is simply no way to prove whether certain actions on the field of play were directly linked to the bounty “system” — short of an admission from the players themselves, there’s no way to prove it.

  59. eeerockski says: May 7, 2012 3:29 PM

    Nice job breaking it down for the non-legal types. I’ve always enjoyed that aspect of this site. Keep up the good work.

  60. qj1984 says: May 7, 2012 3:37 PM

    I am sorry but I don’t see the big deal. This is semantics. The whole make sure you stick to the story comment in itself implies that it was a lie. If there was no bounty system why would Williams be so worried about what his players would say. Hargrove didn’t have to admit to it. His description of Williams and Vitt behavior when they found out the NFL was sniffing around, is enough probable cause.

  61. rayburns says: May 7, 2012 3:39 PM

    As any prosecuting attorney knows, if you take one piece of evidence, such as Hargrove’s statement, and look at it in a vacuum, it can mean anything. But evidence doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it has connections to other pieces of evidence.

    Of course, a good defense attorney will try to show each piece of evidence in a vacuum and ignore the ties to other evidence.

  62. sonnyboychris says: May 7, 2012 3:44 PM

    LOL at the NFL… That’s some “evidence” you have there. What a joke. You Goddell fans can get up off of your knees now.

  63. noqrtrgvn says: May 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    kind of hard to determine which “pot of stew” has the rancid meat…

  64. trevor123698 says: May 7, 2012 3:46 PM

    you’d probably be surprised to learn the extent to which man can digest rancid meat.

  65. jcaro5566 says: May 7, 2012 3:47 PM

    Hey Florio, I guess it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is…..Right?

  66. kathyisintheroom says: May 7, 2012 3:51 PM

    truthfactory says:
    May 7, 2012 3:05 PM
    Sorry, but the TRUTH is clearly there was a bounty system in play for knocking gus out. You can point to technicalities on the verbiage of certain statements, but there was indeed a bounty system and thats all that counts… Its very clear from everything Ive heard and read. Even players dont deny it, they simply say “where’s the proof”?

    Sorry, this isnt a court of law. Goodell has ultimate say and he doesnt need credit card receipts to prove that this was going on.

    They got busted, got their punishment, now lets move on.

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

    Ahh, another Goodell teabag groupie.
    Really? “It’s very clear from everything you heard and read”
    What have you “heard” and “read”? Are you on the leagues security detail? Did your master Goodell show you all the “evidence”?

    Seems to me that you only “hear” and “see” what you want to in this matter. Maybe you should ask someone with a bit of intelligence to read the players denial statements since you say they haven’t denied anything. I think Vilma issued a very strong denial, oh, but you don’t want to hear or see that, you only want to see your pathetic comments in print.
    Now we can move on.

  67. ilovefoolsball says: May 7, 2012 4:00 PM

    hockeyfootball98 says:
    May 7, 2012 2:12 PM
    Drew Brees would still like an explanation…..
    ______
    You’re still looking for a brain.

  68. ilovefoolsball says: May 7, 2012 4:04 PM

    nflsecurity862 says:
    May 7, 2012 2:37 PM
    2009 Super Bowl Champions- New Orleans Saints*

    ____
    nice new name ManBearPig, guess the old one had too much baggage with it and everyone figured your dumb*** out hey? Won’t take long for people to catch on to this one. Good luck with that stadium.

  69. vikingamericann says: May 7, 2012 4:06 PM

    Now we are at the point where only those who want the Saints to be guilty, can see their guilty. Those of us who believe in fairness still have not see any direct fact that a bounty program existed. Instead we get duh the NFL would not do this without evidence, or just read between the lines.. What a bunch of doofuses. Severe penalties require clear facts not guesses.

  70. gacoltfan says: May 7, 2012 4:10 PM

    First off, this kind of wordplay is one of the many reasons people don’t like lawyers. We all know that Hargrove was told to lie, but you want to twist the meaning around just because he didn’t say the word “lie”.

    Second, to all the Saints fans: Williams, Vitt, and others have ADMITTED there was a bounty program. If you want to debate the severity of the penalties, that is fine, but please stop trying to deny the crime.

  71. gacoltfan says: May 7, 2012 4:14 PM

    Last week, I vowed to get my eyes on the declaration from Anthony Hargrove, which had been submitted by the NFLPA to the NFL in connection with the bounty investigation. It took some time and a little more effort than I’m accustomed to exerting (i.e., any), but I finally got it.

    Now this is funny. Florio is trying to take credit for getting Hargrove’s statement. He “got it” by reading Yahoo Sports and clicking on a link where Jason Cole posted it.

  72. vikingamericann says: May 7, 2012 4:14 PM

    NFL said last week in the announcement of the suspensions of Hargrove and three other players that the declaration “established not only the existence of the program with the Saints, but also that he knew about and participated in it,” that statement was blatantly incorrect

    Many said the NFL would not be this stupid. Well they were. To tell us Hargrove’s statement admits to knowledge and participation in a bounty program. Knowing NFLPA had a copy of this statement. That’s down right stupid, Well played NFLPA you just nailed the NFL on a lie.

  73. dannyabramowitz says: May 7, 2012 4:24 PM

    Connect the dots people:

    Goodell has deprived 4 players of their livelihood for up to one year, but won’t produce the evidence supporting his decision.

    Goodell hires a so-called “independent” attorney to review the alleged evidence and then participate in a conference call with the media to persuade them that the NFL has the evidence, but still won’t release the evidence.

    One of the lead investigators resigns.

    Goodell won’t release the Hargrove affidavit. Now that the press has obtained the affidavit, it is clear that Goodell and attorney he hired at best overstated at worst misrepresented the Hargrove affidavit.

    Conclusion: Goodell ain’t got the evidence.

    To the person who questioned why Goodell would do this, I say that Goodell has been on a player safety crusade for 2 years. The Saints were a convenient scapegoat to show the world that Goodell was truly concerned with player safety, which benefits the NFL in the concussion lawsuits and bolsters Goodell’s push for an 18-game season.

  74. dcrams20 says: May 7, 2012 4:30 PM

    Gregg Williams apology:

    “It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it,” Williams said. “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.”

    After years, they finally caught him. I don’t think he would have fessed-up to ‘it’ if they didn’t have strong evidence of ‘it’.

  75. neilnixon says: May 7, 2012 4:31 PM

    I think most of those commenting on those are missing the bigger point here.

    First, it’s obvious that the Saints had a robust “pay for performance” program. The coaches, in their released statements, either admitted to it or alluded to it. They have and should be punished for allowing such a system to take place — although the harsh sentences are open to question, given that Green Bay admitted to having a similar system in place in 2007 for instance — and for not coming clean when asked.

    It IS NOT obvious, based on what’s been released, that there is any evidence or a “pay to injure” system. In fact, every New Orleans player — those suspended and others (Darren Sharper, for instance) — have insisted there never was such a thing. The league keeps insisting there was such a system but has never provided any specifics as to who received payments. If they have the goods and now Goodell and the NFL’s credibility is at stake here, isn’t it logical to think they would release it???

    It is also blantantly obvious to any objective party that the NFL is trying to “cherry-pick” certain things and embellish or trying to twist them to make their case seem stronger.

    For those who wonder about the league’s motives I can offer two reasons: the concussion lawsuits (the NFL wants to look tough on matters of playing safety as a buffer for itself) and vindictiveness by Goodell because Payton, Loomis, Vitt lied to him and their actions are making the league look bad. As evidence of Goodell’s pettiness to punish the Saints franchise, look no farther than the stripping of high draft picks and ask “what do draft picks have to do with punishing those responsible for bounties?” Even if all the evidence against the coaches, the GM and those players were true, why is Goodell punishing the on-field future of the franchise (and penalizing the players who didn’t take part in the system and the team’s fan base) by stripping draft picks? That punishment doesn’t fit the crime, but does give insight into Goodell and his being power-hungry.

    I commend Florio and PFT ….finally…..for asking the tough questions, but wish he would also deal with the whole “stripping of draft picks” question and ask Goodell and the league their motivation for that.

    And for all those who support Goodell’s heavy-handedness here, and swallow whole all the league’s so-called evidence that it chooses not to reveal, does anyone want to offer some justification for how taking away draft picks ties to bounties??? If you can’t, and I haven’t seen any media outlet try to justify that action either, then that in itself speaks volumes.

  76. mvp43 says: May 7, 2012 4:32 PM

    Not too sure you actually have to “play” dumb……….

  77. gacoltfan says: May 7, 2012 4:33 PM

    vikingamericann says:
    May 7, 2012 4:06 PM
    Now we are at the point where only those who want the Saints to be guilty, can see their guilty. Those of us who believe in fairness still have not see any direct fact that a bounty program existed. Instead we get duh the NFL would not do this without evidence, or just read between the lines.. What a bunch of doofuses. Severe penalties require clear facts not guesses.

    ————

    Here is the quote from Gregg Williams:

    “It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it,” Williams said. “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.”

    You want to call people doofuses for believing there was a bounty program? The guy who started it and ran it has admitted to it. The only “doofuses” are those who actually still believe it didn’t happen. How much more proof do you need than Williams admitting it?

  78. mjkelly77 says: May 7, 2012 4:40 PM

    Back when I was practicing law, I’d periodically explain to a jury that, upon encountering a piece of rancid meat in a pot of beef stew, the reaction isn’t to keep eating but to dump it all out.
    ________________________

    And when someone has a gangrenous body part, only that body part is amputated and the patient is saved.

    What’s your point?

  79. acetw says: May 7, 2012 4:40 PM

    Hey catquick! No, apparently admitting it is not enough proof. Just ask the nfl themselves. They’ve got other team’s players and coaches publicly admitting it left and right and the nfl claims “not enough proof to act”.

  80. totallydisgusted says: May 7, 2012 5:02 PM

    NFL has no real evidence. Hargrove is a snitch! Bounty Gate is over blown!

  81. shzastl says: May 7, 2012 5:03 PM

    @neilnixon – agree with everything you write except the part about draft picks. It is pretty obvious the reason the NFL took away the picks is because that is the only practical way to meaningfully punish a team and deter others. If it’s just a fine, other teams might look at that and do the same thing because these teams have billions of dollars and a huge fine doesn’t really sting. Losing draft picks does.

  82. beeronthefridge says: May 7, 2012 5:17 PM

    If the facts don’t fit, you must acquit!

  83. booker1974 says: May 7, 2012 5:27 PM

    dcram and gacoltfan, you conveniently left out half of the quote. Here’s the full thing:

    “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.”

    He does not confess to bounties, he confesses to a “pay for performance” program, which many players have fessed up to. There is a difference.

    It should also be repeated that this “confession” was written by the league (reported first by Dan Patrick), after they determined his initial statement wasn’t contrite enough.

  84. mwanamatapa says: May 7, 2012 5:49 PM

    Would have been nice if you had credited Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports who “broke” the declaration. Attempting to take credit for other people’s efforts is not good form!

  85. shzastl says: May 7, 2012 5:54 PM

    Actually it’s “blatantly incorrect” to say that she said the “thrust” was the “nature” and “participation”. She said the thrust was that he was told to lie about it, which is certainly a fair inference given Williams’ statements that the program existed.

  86. dcrams20 says: May 7, 2012 6:09 PM

    booker1974 says:
    May 7, 2012 5:27 PM
    dcram and gacoltfan, you conveniently left out half of the quote. Here’s the full thing:

    “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.”

    He does not confess to bounties, he confesses to a “pay for performance” program, which many players have fessed up to. There is a difference.

    It should also be repeated that this “confession” was written by the league (reported first by Dan Patrick), after they determined his initial statement wasn’t contrite enough.

    __________________________________

    Booker – I found the quote at Fox News, via the AP, so I will conveniently blame them for half the quote. (apparently they don’t want the link on here…)

    And I have no doubt the confession was written for him – I doubt that he’s sorry at all… only sorry that he got caught. And, yes, I believe he got caught coaching much more than ‘pay for performance’. The NFL doesn’t do anything without crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s.

  87. gacoltfan says: May 7, 2012 6:13 PM

    totallydisgusted says:
    May 7, 2012 5:02 PM
    NFL has no real evidence. Hargrove is a snitch! Bounty Gate is over blown!

     ———–

    This post shows exactly why the NFL should not release their evidence. This not a situation where you have DNA or someone with a hidden microphone recording conversations (other than the before the 49er game). The evidence is going to be multiple players and coaches admitting to the league what happened. The one statement that is out there and the guy is called a snitch. If any coaches admitted to it and gave information to the league, they would be blacklisted from getting any future coaching jobs. Players may be targeted for being a “snitch”. I would bet the players and coaches we told by the league that their statements would be confidential.

  88. vikingamericann says: May 7, 2012 6:13 PM

    Here is the quote from Gregg Williams:

    “It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it,” Williams said. “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.”

    You want to call people doofuses for believing there was a bounty program? The guy who started it and ran it has admitted to it. The only “doofuses” are those who actually still believe it didn’t happen. How much more proof do you need than Williams admitting it?

    Your are from Georgia so I understand your confusion. I’m not sure I can dumb this down enough for you, but I’ll try. Everything stated is implied (a dictionary may help with the big words). The Williams quote you cherry picked says it. It is a pronoun. Pronouns have antecedents, we need to know the antecedent to the pronoun to have clear facts. We assume that the antecedent is bounty, but no direct fact. Do you no the real meaning of assume? The harshest penalties the NFL has ever handed out to players deserves clear evidence not guess work.

  89. neilnixon says: May 7, 2012 6:18 PM

    shzastl says:

    @neilnixon – agree with everything you write except the part about draft picks. It is pretty obvious the reason the NFL took away the picks is because that is the only practical way to meaningfully punish a team and deter others. If it’s just a fine, other teams might look at that and do the same thing because these teams have billions of dollars and a huge fine doesn’t really sting. Losing draft picks does.
    —————————————————-
    Thanks for your comments, but you state that it’s “pretty obvious” why the NFL took away draft picks. Obvious to whom? Like the rest of their actions regarding “Bounty Gate” they haven’t explained any of their actions. Why did Payton get more time than Vitt or Loomis? Why did Hargrove get 8 games and Fujita 3??? There is no stated logic or explanation.

    You say they took away draft picks as a deterrent, but don’t you think banning a head coach for a year, a key assistant for six games , a GM for half of a season, and three players at a loss of million a dollars (indeed punishments that were by far the harshest ever laid down in NFL history and far worse than any of the so-called experts/prognosticators predicted) is enough of a deterrent?

    Taking away draft choices that hurts the team’s future on-field performance is of no deterrent to Payton, Loomis, Vitt, Vilma, etc., especially in comparison to their suspensions and loss of salaries. To me, it only shows definitively how Goodell is petty and totally un-caring to Saints fans who didn’t have anything to do with this yet are still being asked to pay full price for tickets.

    My analogy is this: If your kid was suspended for “bad actions” at school, would it be fair to garnish the parent’s future wages??

  90. buddgrant says: May 7, 2012 6:29 PM

    I’m not sure I can dumb this down enough for you, but I’ll try: learn the difference between ‘no’ and ‘know’. Once done, tackle ‘their’ as opposed to ‘they’re’. A dictionary may help with the big words.

    vikingamericann says: May 7, 2012 6:13 PM
    “Your are from Georgia so I understand your confusion. Do you no the real meaning of assume?”

  91. vikingamericann says: May 7, 2012 6:38 PM

    dcrams20 The NFL doesn’t do anything without crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s

    I admire your faith in cooperate institutions like the NFL. I mean if you run a multi billion dollar cooperation you would never do anything stupid. Just think of the great banking cooperations that dotting their i’s and crossed their t’s when they deposited all the bailout checks we gave them.

  92. drdrumlord says: May 7, 2012 6:40 PM

    You want a fact? The Saints were the most penalized team for safety-related penalties during the bounty seasons. I wonder why.

  93. stanklepoot says: May 7, 2012 6:40 PM

    Williams has admitted to inappropriate behavior. Hargrove has stated that Williams came to him and instructed him in what to say to league security and that they’ve been after him for years (gee, I wonder why). He goes on to say that if they stay on the same page they can ride things out. Williams then makes an offer that Hargrove felt was a quid pro quo for his agreement to make the requested statement to league security. Then Vitt comes in and asks Hargrove to make the same statement, reminding Hargrove that he brought him into the league and onto the team. Now, I might not be a lawyer, but the statement seems to point in a particular direction, and I doubt even a judge would have a problem with a jury making an inference based on these points. Let’s face it, people get convicted of real crimes based on circumstantial evidence. If everything surrounding an issue points in the same direction, most people are going to make the obvious connection.

  94. vikingamericann says: May 7, 2012 6:44 PM

    Bud
    I’m not sure I can dumb this down enough for you, but I’ll try: learn the difference between ‘no’ and ‘know’. Once done, tackle ‘their’ as opposed to ‘they’re’. A dictionary may help with the big words.

    Budgrant is now the grammar policy
    Grammar policy alert total loser checks grammar instead of content. Hahaha.

  95. stanklepoot says: May 7, 2012 6:52 PM

    neilnixon says: May 7, 2012 6:18 PM

    shzastl says:

    @neilnixon – agree with everything you write except the part about draft picks. It is pretty obvious the reason the NFL took away the picks is because that is the only practical way to meaningfully punish a team and deter others. If it’s just a fine, other teams might look at that and do the same thing because these teams have billions of dollars and a huge fine doesn’t really sting. Losing draft picks does.
    —————————————————-
    Thanks for your comments, but you state that it’s “pretty obvious” why the NFL took away draft picks. Obvious to whom? Like the rest of their actions regarding “Bounty Gate” they haven’t explained any of their actions. Why did Payton get more time than Vitt or Loomis? Why did Hargrove get 8 games and Fujita 3??? There is no stated logic or explanation.

    You say they took away draft picks as a deterrent, but don’t you think banning a head coach for a year, a key assistant for six games , a GM for half of a season, and three players at a loss of million a dollars (indeed punishments that were by far the harshest ever laid down in NFL history and far worse than any of the so-called experts/prognosticators predicted) is enough of a deterrent?

    Taking away draft choices that hurts the team’s future on-field performance is of no deterrent to Payton, Loomis, Vitt, Vilma, etc., especially in comparison to their suspensions and loss of salaries. To me, it only shows definitively how Goodell is petty and totally un-caring to Saints fans who didn’t have anything to do with this yet are still being asked to pay full price for tickets.

    My analogy is this: If your kid was suspended for “bad actions” at school, would it be fair to garnish the parent’s future wages??
    _______________________________
    Bad analogy. It’s not just “the kids” misbehaving here. It’s the players and the coaches, with the GM helping to cover it up. So, you have all three levels misbehaving (players, coaching staff, front office). A much better analogy would be college football, where the NCAA would call this a complete lack of institutional control. The Saints organization is responsible for what those in the organization do, especially when you’re talking about multiple coaches and the GM. That being the case, the loss of draft picks is appropriate if you believe the charges. The Pats lost a first round pick for spygate, and that didn’t involve plotting to injure players or any attempt to lie to the league. The Saints lost two 2nd round picks simply because the lacked a 1st round pick to take this year. Two 2s is pretty much fair trade value for a 1.

  96. jluns275 says: May 7, 2012 6:53 PM

    Hey Florio-you didn’t really “get to the bottom” of the declaration, because you didn’t post it in it’s entirety.
    If it makes the league look as bad as you suggest, wouldn’t it be a slam dunk of an article for you if you showed the whole thing, not just little snippets carefully selected by you.
    In the course of mentioning your ludicrous oversimplifications in the analogies you regularly used in your legal work you’re suggesting to your readers the notion that you’re not any better of a lawyer than you are a journalist.
    Or, should I put that into an analogy for you?
    ‘If you have a room full of lawyers with one that’s not so good at it, but thinks he’s a journalist-you should throw them all out.’
    Hey, that reminds me of a joke-
    What do you call a 1000 lawyers at the bottom of the sea?

  97. fmwarner says: May 7, 2012 6:53 PM

    This whole thing reeks.

    Clearly, something was going on. But despite the protests of some of the more legally challenged posters, “We all KNOW what was going on!” is not actually evidence.

    There are confessions and evidence of a pay-for-performance program. But where is the evidence of the more severe offense of a bounty program for injury? Where is the evidence that Hargrove participated in the alleged program? Not in his affidavit.

    The league is making too many inferences and suppositions to satisfy a level of certainty consistent with the severe punishment it has doled out. And if their case is as solid as they say, why not release the evidence to the accused? I know it’s not court, but seems pretty suspicious if they won’t.

  98. gacoltfan says: May 7, 2012 6:55 PM

    vikingamericann says:
    May 7, 2012 6:13 PM

    Your are from Georgia so I understand your confusion. I’m not sure I can dumb this down enough for you, but I’ll try. Everything stated is implied (a dictionary may help with the big words). The Williams quote you cherry picked says it. It is a pronoun. Pronouns have antecedents, we need to know the antecedent to the pronoun to have clear facts. We assume that the antecedent is bounty, but no direct fact. Do you no the real meaning of assume? The harshest penalties the NFL has ever handed out to players deserves clear evidence not guess work.

    ———————

    If you aren’t intelligent enough to be able to draw the correct conclusion from what he said without him saying the word “bounty”, there really isn’t much I can do to help you. It ‘s like when Jason Giambo apologized without saying he actually used steroids. I guess you were probably one of the few who would say he didn’t use because he didn’t explicitly say “I used steroids”.

    To borrow a phrase I heard Colin Cowherd say, “you’re born with an IQ and there is nothing that can be done about it”.

  99. shzastl says: May 7, 2012 7:10 PM

    Just obvious in the sense that if you ask the question “how do you punish an organization” (as opposed to an individual), money and draft picks seem like obvious answers. But maybe it’s just obvious to me. Forfeiture of draft choices is also listed in the CBA as one of the possible sanctions for a Club violating salary cap rules. Whether the suspensions of the individuals involved alone is “enough” of a deterrent is certainly debatable. But in reality, if only the individuals could be punished the team could get off lightly. Coaches, GMs and players change teams all the time. Gregg Williams had already gone to another team; why is it fair to punish the Rams? If it was not discovered until a few years later, Payton and Loomis could be on other teams too, the players involved could be retired, etc. What then, the Saints have no punishment? The prospect of losing draft choices ensures the team is accountable and encourages the owners to make sure their GMs/coaches know that this kind of thing better not happen. That said, it is true that the overall penalties are a bit excessive, because the NFL is trying to send a deterrent message by making an example of the Saints.

  100. stevenfbrackett says: May 7, 2012 7:57 PM

    Why hasn’t Hargrove been released yet?

  101. gacoltfan says: May 7, 2012 8:23 PM

    fmwarner says:
    May 7, 2012 6:53 PM
    This whole thing reeks.

    Clearly, something was going on. But despite the protests of some of the more legally challenged posters, “We all KNOW what was going on!” is not actually evidence.

    There are confessions and evidence of a pay-for-performance program. But where is the evidence of the more severe offense of a bounty program for injury? Where is the evidence that Hargrove participated in the alleged program? Not in his affidavit.

    The league is making too many inferences and suppositions to satisfy a level of certainty consistent with the severe punishment it has doled out. And if their case is as solid as they say, why not release the evidence to the accused? I know it’s not court, but seems pretty suspicious if they won’t.

     —————————

    I don’t find anything wrong with them not releasing evidence. A lot of the evidence is testimony from players and coaches. There had to be some promise of confidentiality for the players and coaches to admit what was going on. If there is no confidentiality, coaches would be blacklisted and never get another job in football, and players would be treated like “scabs” that crossed the picket line. If there is evidence that doesn’t implicate a player or coach as the “source”, it should be released. If it would implicate someone, it should be kept confidential.

  102. fmwarner says: May 7, 2012 8:30 PM

    I don’t find anything wrong with them not releasing evidence. A lot of the evidence is testimony from players and coaches. There had to be some promise of confidentiality for the players and coaches to admit what was going on. If there is no confidentiality, coaches would be blacklisted and never get another job in football, and players would be treated like “scabs” that crossed the picket line. If there is evidence that doesn’t implicate a player or coach as the “source”, it should be released. If it would implicate someone, it should be kept confidential.
    =================================

    It should be kept confidential from the general public, sure, I’ll buy that. But there’s no way that it should be kept confidential from the suspended players. Again, I know that this is not a court proceeding, but the right to face your accuser and the right to review of the evidence against you is a basic tenet of not just the law, but of fairness.

  103. tweeter75 says: May 7, 2012 8:39 PM

    Playing dumb should come naturally for Hargrove.

  104. gacoltfan says: May 7, 2012 8:57 PM

    fmwarner says:
    May 7, 2012 8:30 PM
    I don’t find anything wrong with them not releasing evidence. A lot of the evidence is testimony from players and coaches. There had to be some promise of confidentiality for the players and coaches to admit what was going on. If there is no confidentiality, coaches would be blacklisted and never get another job in football, and players would be treated like “scabs” that crossed the picket line. If there is evidence that doesn’t implicate a player or coach as the “source”, it should be released. If it would implicate someone, it should be kept confidential.
    =================================

    It should be kept confidential from the general public, sure, I’ll buy that. But there’s no way that it should be kept confidential from the suspended players. Again, I know that this is not a court proceeding, but the right to face your accuser and the right to review of the evidence against you is a basic tenet of not just the law, but of fairness.

     ———————-

    Didn’t the players have a chance to meet with the commissioner before the suspensions, but refused? That would have been the time to hear the evidence against them and respond to it. They chose not to cooperate and now have to suffer the consequences of those actions.

    Showing the players all the evidence is the same as going public. You don’t really think the players and coaches wouldn’t tell the rest of the league who “ratted” them out?

  105. outlawshark says: May 7, 2012 9:40 PM

    After reading Hargrove’s statement, I feel bad for him. Your coaches order you to do something and your choice is “obey and play” or “say no and go”. Football is a dog-eat-dog business and disobeying coaches is the fastest way out the door. My guess is Hargrove had a choice to obey the coaches or be the “whistle-blower”. And we all know how fun that title would have been. Yeah, he was wrong to not be honest, but I simply can’t hammer him for the reason he was not forthright.

  106. booker1974 says: May 7, 2012 10:41 PM

    drdrumlord says:May 7, 2012 6:40 PM

    You want a fact? The Saints were the most penalized team for safety-related penalties during the bounty seasons. I wonder why.

    ——————————

    That is a completely untrue statement.

  107. dcrams20 says: May 7, 2012 11:02 PM

    vikingamericann says:
    May 7, 2012 6:38 PM
    dcrams20 The NFL doesn’t do anything without crossing their t’s and dotting their i’s

    I admire your faith in cooperate institutions like the NFL. I mean if you run a multi billion dollar cooperation you would never do anything stupid. Just think of the great banking cooperations that dotting their i’s and crossed their t’s when they deposited all the bailout checks we gave them.

    _______________________________

    Good point Viking, but…… I’ll stick with the assumption that with all that dough, Goodell and friends will hire the best counsel money can buy. (One would hope they would be smarter than the bankers.)

  108. cowboycjn says: May 8, 2012 9:12 AM

    drdrumlord says:May 7, 2012 6:40 PM
    You want a fact? The Saints were the most penalized team for safety-related penalties during the bounty seasons. I wonder why.
    = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    Do you watch football any at all?? Do you know how to use a computer?? Go google search. . in fact here is the addy, go here and see how ignorant you are.

    http://www.teamrankings.com/nfl/stat/penalty-yards-per-game

    The top team penalized was Oakland with 84.9 yards per game average. Tenn/SF/Arizona/Tampa/Carolina/Seattle/& Detroit were all in the 60’s per game and N.O. ranked 9th lowest from the bottom with a low of only 48.3 Y/per game.
    Get real and do your homework before opening your mouth of which you know nothing about.

  109. dspyank2k11 says: May 8, 2012 12:12 PM

    That piece of Vitt!

  110. gingerkid2000 says: May 8, 2012 4:06 PM

    If you aren’t doing anything wrong there is no reason to cover anything up, no reason to tell anyone to deny anything, no reason to make sure anyone is on the same page & no reason to apologize for anything. They’ve done all of these things!

    Why would you remind someone one that you’re the reason for why they are even in the NFL if you weren’t trying to subtly threaten their career if they don’t deny it. What is there to even deny if they’re not doing anything wrong?

    NFL just needs to release all the evidence at this point. It’s getting out of hand and too many people are concerned with semantics than they are with the fact that these guys denied, covered up & apologized for something.

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