When it comes to the question of whether the NFL should release all evidence related to the Saints alleged bounty program, the evidence in favor of putting all cards on the table continues to grow.
The latest chunk of it comes from Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, who buries a bombshell in an article regarding the fallout of the Anthony Hargrove declaration.
Writes Triplett: “[A]ccording to a source close to [former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg] Williams, the NFL has also misrepresented what Williams said in interviews with the league. According to the source, Williams never admitted a ‘bounty program’ was in place and that the league ‘rephrased his statements to satisfy its needs.’ The source also said Williams never identified any players for their involvement in a pay-for-performance or bounty program.”
Those are strong, stunning allegations. Given the mounting attacks on the quality of the league’s evidence, the time has come for the NFL to disclose it. All. Publicly. Every piece and shred of it.
It’s far too late for the NFL to hide behind “personnel matters” and “privacy rights.” Through a series of detailed statements that the NFL has released containing summaries and characterizations of evidence, the reputations of Gregg Williams, Sean Payton, Joe Vitt, Mickey Loomis, Anthony Hargrove, Scott Fujita, Will Smith, and Jonathan Vilma forever have been sullied. The least the league can do at this point is share with all of us the evidence that justified publicly branding these eight men as cheaters, liars, and worse.
This isn’t about exonerating Williams, who delivered a fatal blow to his own reputation the night before the Saints faced the 49ers in the 2011 NFC playoffs. But the league has painted all of eight men with the same broad brush. The time has come to take a scalpel to the evidence and figured out exactly who did what.