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The Anthony Hargrove declaration

[Editor's note:  Our post regarding the Anthony Hargrove declaration has generated plenty of discussion and debate regarding the words Hargrove used -- and those he omitted.  So here it is, for full evaluation and analysis.]

DECLARATION OF ANTHONY HARGROVE

I submit this declaration in order to describe instructions I was given by New Orleans Saints Coaches about what to tell NFL investigators during their 2010 investigation of the Saints’ so-called ‘bounty’ program.

1.  On or about February 24, 2010, I returned to New Orleans, Louisiana after a mission trip to Swaziland, Africa, and I received a telephone call from my New Orleans Saints defensive line coach, Bill Johnson.  Coach Johnson informed me that Defensive Coach Gregg Williams needed to talk to me at the Saints facility.  I immediately went to Coach Williams’ office for the meeting.

2.  When I arrived in his office, Coach Williams was working on a depth chart, and he said to me, “I’ve got you plugged in at left end, Tony.”  Coach Williams knew that defensive end was my preferred position.  It wasn’t until later that I realized that the presentation Coach Williams gave me regarding my opportunity to start at defensive end might have had something to do with what he was about to tell me to do.  In fact, later, after I had re-signed with New Orleans and had concluded my meeting with NFL security in the manner Coach Williams had instructed me, I was never given the opportunity to compete for the starting defensive end job.

3.  Assistant Coach Joe Vitt joined Coach Williams and me in Williams’ office.  Coach Williams told me that the NFL was coming to the Saints facility to ask questions about a complaint from the Vikings that there had been a “bounty” placed on Vikings quarterback Brett Favre by the New Orleans Saints defense prior to the NFC Championship game.

4.  Williams said that some people thought that I had told Vikings player Jimmy Kennedy about the existence of a “bounty” on Brett Favre because I am friends with Jimmy from our playing days at St. Louis.

5.  Williams said he was going to deny the existence of any bounty on any player to the NFL, and I should deny it, too.  Coach Vitt also said he was going to deny the existence of any bounties.  Coach Williams said:  “Those motherf-ckers [the NFL] have been trying to get me for years,” and if we all “stay on the same page, this will blow over.”

[There was no paragraph 6.]

7.  Coach Vitt also told me that I should deny the existence of any bounty or bounty program, and he told me to remember that he was the person who “brought [me] into the League and brought [me] to the Saints.”

8.  The meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes, and during that time, both Coach Williams and Coach Vitt told me that I should deny the existence of any bounty or bounty program to the NFL.  Williams and Vitt repeatedly stated that they “care about me, and . . . if we all stay on the same page about this, it will blow over.”  They told me that when the NFL asked me about any bounty or bounty program, I should “just play dumb.”

9.  In mid-March 2010, approximately two weeks after the meeting with Coach Williams and Coach Vitt, I met with one person from NFL Security at the New Orleans Saints facility.

10.  The NFL Security personnel asked me if there had been a bounty on Brett Favre in the NFC Championship game, and as instructed by Coach Williams and Coach Vitt, I denied all knowledge of a bounty or bounty program.

11.  The NFL Security personnel then asked several questions about whether there was a bounty program, whether Saints players contributed money to a bounty pool, and whether I had ever received bounty money.  In response to these questions, I followed the clear directions I had received from Coach Williams and Coach Vitt, and I repeatedly denied knowledge of any bounty or bounty program.

12.  Approximately a week after I had been questioned by NFL Security, Gregg Williams asked me about the interview; he asked “Did you stick to the story?”  I told him that I responded to all of the NFL’s questions as he and Coach Vitt had instructed me:  I denied any knowledge of a bounty program.

13.  After that conversation with Gregg Williams in late March 2010, I never discussed my interview with the NFL or the instructions that I had been given by Coach Williams and Coach Vitt until NFLPA attorneys informed me in mid-March 2012 that the NFL might want to talk to me about the March 2010 interview and the alleged bounty program again.

I swear that the above statements are truthful.

/s/Anthony Hargrove

Dated:  4-13-2012

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18 Responses to “The Anthony Hargrove declaration”
  1. jeremywflores says: May 7, 2012 4:13 PM

    Brett Favre might be a zero but the Saints are an absolute cancer.

  2. jefftownsend52 says: May 7, 2012 4:19 PM

    so he declares neutrality?

  3. amg503 says: May 7, 2012 4:21 PM

    I think it’d be wise if Gregg Williams started thinking about other career paths to go into, because reentering the NFL is looking less and less likely.

  4. sterlingsaint says: May 7, 2012 4:40 PM

    What this declaration shows is that Roger Goodell has lied to the public, Period.

    Ban him for a year!

  5. bleedgreen says: May 7, 2012 5:02 PM

    So it doesn’t mention Vilma at all, lending more credence to the ‘They have not provided any evidence’ attack they have going on.

  6. danny2305 says: May 7, 2012 5:18 PM

    Florio is 100% against revealing the whistle-blower of the bounty in the first place…. but is happy to track down and print the entire contents of Hargroves declaration which basically whistle-blows on Vitt and Williams?!

    Pot meet kettle.

  7. turdpatrol says: May 7, 2012 5:22 PM

    I’ve been following this saga along with everyone else, and here’s what I now find very interesting…

    Nowhere in Hargrove’s declaration does he actually say there was a bounty. He says repeatedly that he was instructed by coaches to deny a bounty. Well, if I had no knowledge of a bounty, I would certainly go along with it and say, in fact, that I had no knowledge of a bounty.

    Having worked in the legal field for quite some time, this doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. If there was no murder, and a client has no knowledge of a murder, you tell them to state that. Now, I’m not saying that the Saints organization didn’t obstruct the investigation and/or didn’t cooperate. That’s a separate issue. But I’m wondering this: If this Hargrove declaration is purported to be so damning, why doesn’t he mention that there was indeed a bounty? Only that his coaches asked him to stick to denying it?

    I’m having my doubts now. If Goodell doesn’t hand over some actual proof that a pay-for-injury program was unequivocally in place, I can’t help but conclude that the Saints organization panicked over the accusations and wrongly told everyone to stick to the story in the hopes that it would just blow over.

    Again, I’m not saying the coaches weren’t in the wrong here. I’m just wondering why the only evidence we’ve heard/seen is Greg Williams mouthing off a bunch of nastiness in the locker room. That audio does nothing to implicate players or demonstrate that money was exchanged, which is exactly what the players are being accused of. I was expecting Hargrove’s statement to admit that a bounty program was in place. This case would never fly in a court of law, at least not with the evidence the NFL is offering.

  8. AB in DC says: May 7, 2012 8:53 PM

    As usual — it’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.

  9. bmitchelf says: May 7, 2012 9:27 PM

    But Vitt and Williams are the known “defendants.” The whistleblower(s) is an anonymous (to the public) source that should remain that way.

    The NFL feels no need to show you proof. See Spygate.

  10. jpspear says: May 7, 2012 11:18 PM

    The NFL is under no legal responsibility to show anything. However, if they think Goodell saying “trust me” and the lawyer he hired saying “trust me” and this confession that doesn’t really confess (or deny) anything is going to make things go away, they are sadly mistaken. If you’re going to take a year from a guy’s career and a few million dollars, you better come up with something better than that.

  11. blitzthepig says: May 8, 2012 7:28 AM

    We shouldn’t forget the audio of Gregg Williams prior to the 49er/Saint playoff game. That in itself sheds enormous light on who this dirt bag really is.

  12. puckertrucker says: May 9, 2012 1:26 AM

    Again the Saints Players hyave opened their collective mouths and inserted the collective feet in same. Again the NFL should Ban the Saints from playing in the NFL, and force the Mr. Benson to Sell the Franchise to an Organization that can Collectively play by the rules. It only shows that the Saints Organization in full of Dirt Bags and it needs to be sent to the Nearest Dump in the City of New Orleans as Soon as Possible. The One and Only PuckerTrucker!!!!!Skol Fans

  13. jluns275 says: May 9, 2012 4:44 PM

    I’m pretty sure everyone already knew Gregg Williams & Joe Vitt were the spearheads of the cover-up.
    What may be a little more interesting is the implication by Williams that Hargrove would start at his preferred position Defensive End if he kept his mouth shut, & the implication by Vitt that he had brought Hargrove both into the league & to the Saints, & could remove him from such just as easily.

  14. dcbassguy says: May 10, 2012 1:03 PM

    This declaration is in regards to the cover up and the fact that he was told to “act dumb”, not the bounty program itself. The declaration was made after the NFL had punished the Saints officials. I’m amazed at the lack of reading comprehension from the people that post comments here.

  15. willyfreee says: May 11, 2012 11:37 PM

    the “wussle blower” is jimmy kenedy. (insinuated in paragraph 4). but that being said hargrove never said in entire statement “yes i did in fact even tell him that” there is no mention whatsoever of vilma, sean payton, loomis, will smith or tom benson. as far as i know the only evidence even presented against anyone currently connected to the saints is vitt coming into the room when greg williams tells hargrove to deny something that likely didnt even happen. i fail to believe the nflpa would defend a “pay for injury” program…..the supposed victims are part of their clients too. i look forward to any disagreements with me as im sure there will be some (likely vikings fans upset they cant beat us).

  16. dgeet says: May 14, 2012 4:29 PM

    Two AFC Championship games in his first two seasons…limited experience as a college player and still helps his team to both games…not a jets fan btw. He has one bad season and everyone hates on him. Also he lost Braylon Edwards who I think is a very under rated wideout, santonio shows up when he wants to and the defensive players they lost was the reason why my eagles stomped on them in that 45 to 19 (I think that was the score)

  17. miles58a says: May 23, 2012 9:59 AM

    What happened to paragraph 6? Was there just a big blank area on the page because if Hargrove didn’t wright anything than 7 should have been 6

  18. vikingsfanintexas says: Jun 1, 2012 11:08 PM

    turdpatrol says:May 7, 2012 5:22 PM

    Having worked in the legal field for quite some time, this doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary. If there was no murder, and a client has no knowledge of a murder, you tell them to state that. Now, I’m not saying that the Saints organization didn’t obstruct the investigation and/or didn’t cooperate. That’s a separate issue. But I’m wondering this: If this Hargrove declaration is purported to be so damning, why doesn’t he mention that there was indeed a bounty? Only that his coaches asked him to stick to denying it?

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

    I’ll be the first to admit that the bounty program, real or imagined didn’t decide the game between the Vikings and the Saints. Turnovers by the Vikings did them in… period.

    Having said that, and having spent nearly 30 years in the criminal justice field, I have to say your statement amazed me… and not in a good way.

    I think any reasonable person would conclude that not only was there a bounty program but that they bribed this poor sap through his hope to start at DE into helping cover it up…

    “It wasn’t until later that I realized that the presentation Coach Williams gave me regarding my opportunity to start at defensive end might have had something to do with what he was about to tell me to do.”

    I’m less troubled by the bounty program, real or imagined, than I am by your comments as they are just SAD… really SAD.

    And those of your giving his comments a thumbs up… heaven help us all…

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