Report: Saints players believe they’re being “railroaded”

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As the bounty case continues to bounce back and forth between simmer and full boil, a strong undercurrent of discontent continues to linger among the ranks of the men who still play for the Saints organization.

According to Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com, multiple unnamed members of the team privately have complained about the situation.

“Everyone in the bounty case is being railroaded,” one unnamed Saints player told Freeman.  “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Freeman explains that the common message from the several Saints players with whom he spoke is that the league doesn’t have actual proof of a bounty system and that, if the league did, the evidence would be released publicly.  It’s hardly an unreasonable suspicion, given that the two pieces of evidence that actually have made their way into the hands of the media (the Anthony Hargrove declaration and the Mike Ornstein email) arguably were mischaracterized by the NFL.

Additional player concerns are identified by Freeman in four other bullet points:

1.  Players who claim they have seen the letters from the NFL to coach Sean Payton, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, assistant head coach Joe Vitt, and G.M. Mickey Loomis contend that the correspondence suggests that talking about the case could make the suspensions even longer.

2.  Players claim that Williams never admitted to an actual bounty program, that he didn’t write the statement confessing responsibility for a pay-for-performance system, and that he agreed to whatever the NFL proposed in order to have a shot at returning to the game.  (Of course, if the last two points are true, then logic suggests that Williams’ statement would have included a confession to the existence of a bounty program.)

3.  Players contend that the punishment imposed on four members of the Saints defense from 2009 through 2011 was enhanced due to the comments from Williams that were tape-recorded the night before the Saints-49ers playoff game.

4.  Players believe that the Saints were “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”  With past lying from the coaches about, at a minimum, the existence of a pay-for-performance system, a strong desire by the league to turn the page on a culture of bounties, and Williams’ cartoonish remarks, the NFL had no choice but to slam the Saints’ players.

“It’s been well-documented that [Williams] had a similar pay-for-performance system at other places he’s coached,” one player close to the investigation told Freeman.  “So now players are being punished for just the dumb luck of being in New Orleans at a time when such a culture was present, and also at a time when the league needs to take a hard stance on such behavior for perception and liability reasons. There might be anecdotal evidence of a few players saying some over-the-top sh-t to mirror their coach. I’ve heard players threaten rape and sodomy in pregame speeches.  Immature?  Yes.  But actually paying and accepting money to injure?  Nope.”

The league continues to refuse to produce raw evidence of the existence of a bounty program, arguing that all witnesses should be given full protection from any disclosure of their names — a skewed, unrealistic interpretation of the duties that an organization owes to a whistleblower.  And that’s one of the reasons why Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma has sued Commissioner Roger Goodell for defamation.  Not only will Goodell be required, at some point, to prove that the accusations against Vilma are true by disclosing evidence of guilt, but Vilma’s lawyer also will be able to use the lawsuit as a vehicle to explore, to scrutinize, and to challenge the investigation.

Perhaps the league has plenty of evidence to support that there truly was a bounty system.  Until the league chooses to find a way to make enough of that evidence available to make the rest of us believe that a bounty system actually existed, suspicions reasonably will persist.

115 responses to “Report: Saints players believe they’re being “railroaded”

  1. Because they ARE being railroaded.

    NFL, either show us the evidence (unless you destroyed it all like you did in Spygate) or get off of the Saints’ backs.

  2. color me perplexed. the unnamed players are complaining about the lack of evidence, then include a direct quote of an unnamed player who admits there was a pay-for-performance system in place? not the swiftest group of guys I’ve ever heard.

  3. Really, and the majority of fans think your being overpaid.

    Too bad, deal with it. The legal system always lets players off too easy, for once the punishment fits the crime and the players are balling their eyes out to anyone who will listen,…………please.

  4. Its amazing how so many people of quickly took the NFL’s bait…hook, line, and sinker. Without any proof whatsever you blindly believe them and think we Saints fans are crazy for standing behind our team. You all know good and well that if the NFL tried to do this to your team you would be doing the same thing we are…trying to fight back the best we can

  5. The last bullet point, in which the Saints players contend that they were simply “in the wrong place at the wrong time” is a very weak defense. It sounds very similar to the standard line-of-defense for soldiers accused of war crimes.

  6. “It’s been well-documented that [Williams] had a similar pay-for-performance system at other places he’s coached,” one player close to the investigation told Freeman.

    What evidence? Tell me close player….

    Can’t have it both ways….

  7. Blame Brees for giving the Commish absolute power…oh wait, he’s mr. perfect. Can’t do that. Saints fans are the worst.

  8. Why are the Saints players and Kindergarteners alike?

    They have the same legal expertise and both whine when it is time for a much needed nap.

  9. This is the power Goodell got when you voted for this CBA.
    The Steelers were the only team not to vote for it because of the oversight Goodell would have!

  10. What about the audio tape of Williams exhorting his players to go after body parts on the key players of other teams??? That sounded pretty damning to me.

  11. So we had Williams admitting it, Payton and Loomis admitting they did nothing to stop it, yet the players STILL think they’re being railroaded? Please–and Mr Florio, once again, the league owes you nor the public nothing until they are compelled to produce what evidence they have. And I still think that’s why you’re so pro-player in this–you’re upset that Goodell hasn’t given you or the rest of the media anything juicy. I think it’s beyond shocking that you think he would suspend these coaches and players without some kind of proof–do you think the guy is an idiot???

  12. Zero sympathy for the Saints’ epic hubris. The league gave New Orleans an opportunity to clean up their act and they refused to do so.

  13. I’m confused, was there no bounty system, or were the players just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Can’t have it both ways.

  14. A former U.S. attorney hired by the NFL to evaluate its investigation of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty program said the evidence shows players received payments for hits on targeted opponents…..It’s just not the NFL

  15. The truth lies somewhere in the middle I’m sure. Unfortunately the NFL does have the upper hand in that they don’t need any burden of proof to take the actions that they’ve already taken. If they want to demonize and persecute anyone they can do whatever the hell they want because they’re the big bad NFL.
    They don’t need to be right or fair, they just need to be within the confines of the CBA.

    I believe before this is all over and done with Roger Goodell will have suffered a serious blow to his credibility.

    So will the Saints, but lets face it, opposing teams’ fans never were Saints fans. Some of the people with nothing better to do than spit venom and vitriole on this site and others would do just the same no matter who the team was as long as it’s not theirs.
    That’s part of being a fan, you can be completely biased and un-objective and it’s ok.

  16. I am a Saints fan and am so tired of this crap. If the league has evidence of “pay for injury”, then show it, and Saints fans will accept pentalities (we would have no choice). If there is only evidence for “pay for performance”, then our coach and players should not be suspended. And while the league is at it, investigate all teams for “pay for performance”. I think that all would be guilty of pay for performance.

  17. Quick…somebody (NFL) give the Saints players “some proof.”

    At least O.J. got to try the glove on in court, the Saints are just looking to see what evidence Roger has on them…not sure why that is an issue?

    For every person wanting to slam the Saints for wanting proof, you are basically saying that you’d have no issue with a judge making a ruling in a court of law (or even your place of employment) on you without evidence being provided. Get Real!

  18. 1. Players who claim they have seen the letters from the NFL to coach Sean Payton, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, assistant head coach Joe Vitt, and G.M. Mickey Loomis contend that the correspondence suggests that talking about the case could make the suspensions even longer.

  19. The saints players are being punished because the league told the organization to “knock it off” and they ignored those orders and continued the practice for another 3 years…

    Bounty…. Pay for Performance…. it really does not matter what you choose to call it…. the Saints continued to do it after being ordered to stop!!

    That should be explaination enough for anyone… including Drew Brees!!

  20. “Not only will Goodell be required, at some point, to prove that the accusations against Vilma are true by disclosing evidence of guilt, but Vilma’s lawyer also will be able to use the lawsuit as a vehicle to explore, to scrutinize, and to challenge the investigation.”

    I was under the impression that the plaintiff had the burden of proof in defamation cases, not the defendant. In this case wouldn’t Vilma be required to prove the accusations false rather than the NFL prove them to be true?

  21. This is typical of New Orleans. Always the victom and nothing is ever fair unless it is happening to someone else.

    Perhaps, just maybe, your team actually deserves to be punished for celebrating the injury of opposing players.

    This could also be a bit of karma for talking so much trash after one championship season. Ever notice how the whole world wanted you to win that Superbowl after Katrina and now everyone hates you? That is because of how you, the fans, behaved after the victory. No class.

  22. Just last Friday Florio posted quotes from Taints players that the “bountygate”” isn’t even on their minds, it’s all business in their camp and they’re not giving it any thought”…….seems everytime a Taints player or coach opens their mouths there is nothing but lies that come out of it. I say it’s time to start increasing the punishments everytime they talk to the media about it. I’d rather hear a 1000 stories about B. Favre retiring and unretiring than another one about the crybaby Taints and bountygate. They were all in for the love the NFL and fans gave them after Katrina but they abused those considerations and now it’s time to take their medicine like the men they want us to believe they are…..yeah right! Sissie Taints

  23. Yeah, they’re being railroaded. Just like they railroaded the whole country into sympathizing with them during Katrina. Life Happens, you deal with it and move on.

  24. They’re totally right about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, if you think the Patriots were the first to illegally tape opposing teams, you’re naive. Heck, other coaches admitted to it.

    That doesn’t make it right, though, it just makes it bad luck. Only a fraction of people get caught for speeding, but they can’t use the “wrong place, wrong time” excuse as a defense.

  25. Stupid mob mentality. This will all come out in the wash, and we don’t give a damn what the uniformed public thinks. We have years of game film showing a less than stellar defense not even tackling with consitancy, much less out there trying to make like a bunch of evil mercenaries out to end careers.
    We we STILL have the best offense in the league, and the defense will be much improved under a coach who knows to how to motivate people without saying a bunch of outrageous bombast that gets all these candyassed people panty-bunched about trash talk all atwitter with fake outrage.
    This bores me, this repetitive crap. The facts are now playing out, the assault of misinformation and garbage journalism has had its day.
    We Saints fans stand behind our team, and nothing you all say can change the fact that our team is not a bunch of dirty players…just a team caught by a BS commish and his BS witch hunt.
    Who Dat.

  26. Vilma the tough guy, slamming the table, screaming he’ll do this and do that and pay money for hurting someone………turns out he’s a big wuss like so many others. cry me a river vilma, someone took your ball and went home with it, LOL

  27. Contrary to your belief that this is a trial…. it is not. Goodell does not need proof that would hold up in court. All he needs is to be convinced that his action are in the best interest of the NFL. Whih I believe he is doing. This is not a Railroad but a work place and these guys need to shut up before Criminal accusations actually start happening. Then the court cases will begin. That is when you can apply the legalese to all of the going’s on.

  28. Boo hoo, cry me a river for the Saints.

    Look, the NFL isn’t a democracy and Goodell can do what he likes as long as he doesn’t violate the CBA or break the law. If the owners have a problem with him then they can remove him. So far none of them (including Tom Benson) have publicly complained about his handling of this situation.

  29. “tjacks7 says: May 21, 2012 3:43 PM

    color me perplexed. the unnamed players are complaining about the lack of evidence, then include a direct quote of an unnamed player who admits there was a pay-for-performance system in place? not the swiftest group of guys I’ve ever heard.”

    ———————————————–

    color me perplexed. I went to Burger King and ordered a Big Mac and they told me they don’t serve Big Macs. Then I looked around the restaurant and everyone is eating a hamburger. not the swiftest group of employees at that Burger King.

  30. This is so not complicated.
    Williams admitted he ordered the “code red”.
    The players, knowing full well Roger will not release the evidence for public consumption (and scrutiny) are trying to win the battle of public opinion.
    Think about it, if Williams, Loomis and Payton are not screaming from the tallest mountain, they are staying quiet and taking their punishment. Why? Because they acknowledged some wrongdoing.
    Done and Done.

  31. Oh please…………..

    The NFL does have evidence otherwise it never would’ve made the light of day. What they’re trying to do is protect the player who tipped them off.

    This is the problem I see
    :

    If the NFL rats out the player in question, the NFLPA will object.

    If the NFL refuses to publicly make available the evidence, the NFLPA will object.

  32. For all of you insane anti-Saints people out there, this article was written by Mike Freeman, one of the most anti-Saints sportswriters out there. If he is starting to turn on the NFL, you know something just doesn’t add up.

    In addition, this site was one of the most anti-Saints outlets on the internet and has shifted away from carrying water for the NFL because of the TOTAL and COMPLETE LACK OF PROOF of any “bounty” program.

    Again, over a three year period, there were exactly ZERO “cart-offs” of “knock-outs” of opposing players by the Saints Defense because of illegal hits.

    There was a “pay for performance” program, a little bit of cash in the pot for interceptions and such, but no “bounty” program. None!

  33. “It’s been well-documented that [Williams] had a similar pay-for-performance system at other places he’s coached,” one player close to the investigation told Freeman.

    But we need more proof here! Or something!

  34. I love how the Saints are now claiming to be the victims. I don’t think anybody in the entire organization any credibility….at least the coaches came clean and took a little responsibility after they were nailed by the Commish. These players are acting like children – grow a set and be a man. They knew what was going on so they should man up be accountable.

  35. Do I think that Goodell is dumb enough to penalize the Saints without proof? No. Do I think that he is arrogant enough to do it? Yes.

  36. So some of you believe that Goodell doesn’t need to show any evidence at all against Vilma. He can just ruin a player’s reputation and suspend him for a year without pay, with no evidence whatsoever. Do you guys live in America?

    Doesn’t it concern you that Goodell has misrepresented Hargrove’s declaration (saying it admitted to a bounty system, when it didn’t), Goodell altered Williams’ original statement, Goodell felt compelled to hire an outside attorney to convince the media there is evidence, but won’t release the evidence, further the lead investigator resigns suddenly and Goodell dumps the news late on a Friday. Something funny is going on here.

    To those of you who argue that the players agreed to give Goodell absolute power in the CBA and should have no complaints: Are you saying that Goodell could suspend, say Matthew Stafford, for a year because Stafford wore a green shirt and Goodell doesn’t like green shirts. Does he have that power? Because that’s the logical conclusion if you argue that the CBA gives Goodell absolute power over all off the field conduct.

  37. They are being railroaded, and Goodell is the train conductor shouting: “ALL ABOARD!”

  38. Move on you little freakin crybabies – you barely got a slap on the wrist, a crappy linebacker and an avg DE please stop whining….

  39. franktherat96 says:
    May 21, 2012 3:44 PM
    Its amazing how so many people of quickly took the NFL’s bait…hook, line, and sinker. Without any proof whatsever you blindly believe them and think we Saints fans are crazy for standing behind our team. You all know good and well that if the NFL tried to do this to your team you would be doing the same thing we are…trying to fight back the best we can
    ________________
    Im a Pats fan still waiting to see these horrible and henious video tapes…oh wait…they were destroyed. Seems fair right? But everybody was doing it?
    The only way to make it go away is go out and win a SB…the Pats have come really close twice…but until then..the haters will hate. Even tho it sucked going 18-1 in 2007, it was nice to see the Pats pi$$ on the rest of the league for 18 games.

  40. “and Saints fans will accept penalities”

    I don’t believe the league levied any penalties against Saints fans, at leastnot directly.

  41. Wow, some fans. Please can I live in your fantasy world where your team always plays fairly, never cheats, never tries to skirt the rules, never head launches or uses a zone-blocking scheme, never goes after injured players? When can I meet Santa Claus? Is Mickey Mouse available for lunch?

  42. Some people that post on here have been quick to condemn but aren’t paying attention. The pay for performance admitted to was for big plays — sacks, interceptions, stuff like that. It is against league rules, but that’s a far cry from putting bounties on players and rewarding injuries, and regarding Williams’ Kobra Kai pregame speech, there’s no rules against tough talk.

    Goodell took a molehill and turned it into a mountain — the punishments against the Saints are the equivalency of ejecting a player for an offsides penalty. And now we see that the league has basically blackmailed the coaches not to talk about anything or their suspensions will be extended, so they’ve been effectively muzzled and can’t defend themselves. Lovely.

  43. So some of you believe that Goodell doesn’t need to show any evidence at all against Vilma
    __________________________________

    Just once, don’t watch Swamp People or stare at your sister all night long, and watch Law and Order. Please. Because it doesn’t work AT ALL like your brain thinks it does.

  44. The Saints can’t even get their stories straight. They whine that Williams had this bounty program at other teams and are being singled out for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet, the four suspended players are appealing and even suing Goodell saying they NEVER heard of a bounty program. Further the coaches admitted it. So, which is it Saints players???

  45. I don’t understand why this story is getting more traction than the egregious abuse of power shown when the NFL punished the Cowboys and Redskins for not following a salary cap when there was NO salary cap. Their contracts were approved by the league office and then, a year later labelled illegal?

    The nflpa needed money, the league said “we can give that to you if you give us what we want.” The league used this as a way to punish those two teams for not colluding. The nflpa is crooked for agreeing to punish the two “rich” teams in the interest of making 28 (2 received no money) teams worth of players happier with more money…

    I’m really shocked that more fans aren’t up in the arms about this. The only explanation is that they are happy their team got 3 million and could care less how it was gotten…

  46. Cue broad blanket statements about millions of people living in one region based on the supposed actions of a few. Real classy group of posters we’ve got here.

  47. hey saints fans I guess your team shouldn’t have voted for the cba…..steelers didn’t….LMAO!!!

    remember how we warned u about Goodell when he was targeting Harrison…..that was just the tip of the iceberg….SMDH!!!

  48. I think a lot of people initially believed what they read in the papers and what they heard on ESPN. Obviously, you can’t believe everything you read/see on TV. I think throughout this process the big issue has been seeing the proof and evidence that has caused these accusations. Until we see proof, I really don’t see how you could believe anything else that is being reported about this. What are all the people gonna say when/if they find out the NFL was wrong?

  49. “Everyone in the bounty case is being railroaded,” one unnamed Saints player told Freeman. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

    Take it from a Skins fan…it is happening brother. nflfan555 has it exactly right…Saints are losing a LB for 16 games and a DE for 8, big deal. Skins lost 2-3 player for 16 games because they won’t ever be here + 2-3 more next year…cry me a river.

  50. Wow, when the league asks you to stop doing something against the rules multiple times over the course of 2-3 years, I would say do it lest you want to end up like the Saints!

    I have little doubt that Goodell has an axe to grind with the Saints for their defiance and to make an example out of them, but they get little sympathy from me. The league would have swept this under the rug for them if they just stopped it when asked the first few times…OOPS!

  51. dannyabramowitz says:
    May 21, 2012 4:13 PM
    ___

    You do know that in Vilma’s case that Goddell will not have to prove ANYTHING. It is Vilma who will have to prove that Goddell has ruined Vilma’s reputation. Which will be tough considering he was recently suspended by his business of hire for breaking company policy.

  52. Looky here, the same Saints haters spewing their ignorance on every single article. We Saints fans relish in your contempt. Winning franchises are used to hatred from loser fan bases. Get over it, and Deal with it!!!

  53. For all of you who are saying Goodell has the evidence and we dont need to see it, that is false. Goodell has NO MORE EVIDENCE. He even stated in his interview with Rich Eisen that “all of the credible evidence has been released” so if you think he is hiding evidence to protect a whistle blower, you are wrong. HE HAS NO MORE EVIDENCE. The only “evidence” he has are statements which the NFL has twisted around to make sound like we had a pay to injure program, and a couple of joke emails sent by a guy who is in prison and had no way of paying any bounty. You people need to open your damn eyes.

  54. Is this a witch hunt? Sure is. But I insist all these kinds of things be a witch hunt. Goodell set the precedent and everybody must share the joy forevermore.

  55. jason1980 says:
    May 21, 2012 4:52 PM
    ___
    By winning franchises you mean franchises that have been able to have a winning season a whopping 27.5%?

    People hate your fans because you are new to winning and too stupid to know how to handle success.

  56. Love all the idiots bringing up Katrina (like that has to do anything with anything) and raging on with all their bigotry while whining about the Saints’ supposed lack of morals. Physician, heal thyself.

  57. bucngator says:
    The saints players are being punished because the league told the organization to “knock it off” and they ignored those orders and continued the practice for another 3 years…

    Bounty…. Pay for Performance…. it really does not matter what you choose to call it…. the Saints continued to do it after being ordered to stop!!

    That should be explaination enough for anyone… including Drew Brees!!
    ————————————

    Quite possibly the most intelligent comment on this thread.

  58. jason1980 says:
    Looky here, the same Saints haters spewing their ignorance on every single article. We Saints fans relish in your contempt. Winning franchises are used to hatred from loser fan bases. Get over it, and Deal with it!!!
    —————————-

    Hey Jason, it’s not about hatred and it’s not because you’re a “winning franchise” (since 2009 or whenever). It’s about the arrogance of the Saints thinking they’re above the NFL laws/rules. So Deal with it.

  59. granadafan,

    They’ve admitted that they had a big play pool — pay for performance (interceptions, fumbles, etc.). They have not admitted to bounties or pay to injure — big difference.

    Giving a teammate $50 for recovering a fumble does not equal putting bounties on opposing players. The former is what they all have admitted took place, the latter is what Goodell has charged and punished them for.

  60. @4gone says:
    May 21, 2012 4:07 PM
    This is so not complicated.
    Think about it, if Williams, Loomis and Payton are not screaming from the tallest mountain, they are staying quiet and taking their punishment. Why? Because they acknowledged some wrongdoing.
    Done and Done.
    ______

    Freeman:
    1. Players who claim they have seen the letters from the NFL to coach Sean Payton, former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, assistant head coach Joe Vitt, and G.M. Mickey Loomis contend that the correspondence suggests that talking about the case could make the suspensions even longer.

    ——
    Reading has it’s advantages doesn’t it?
    Now go take a nap, you’ve learned a lot today!

  61. moagecu says: May 21, 2012 4:57 PM

    jason1980 says:
    May 21, 2012 4:52 PM
    ___
    By winning franchises you mean franchises that have been able to have a winning season a whopping 27.5%?

    People hate your fans because you are new to winning and too stupid to know how to handle success.

    —————————————————————

    No, people hate the Saints because the Saints stepped out of their losing ways and started winning. The Super Bowl was a feelgood story so everybody was fine with it, but when the Saints kept winning people started getting pissed.

    Small-minded people like things to fit neatly into little boxes to fit their small-minded ways of thinking, and when something happens to upset their applecart they get their knickers in a twist.

  62. @mdd913 says: May 21, 2012 4:59 PM

    Love all the idiots bringing up Katrina (like that has to do anything with anything) and raging on with all their bigotry while whining about the Saints’ supposed lack of morals. Physician, heal thyself.
    —————————————————–
    I didn’t read many comments, but that’s disgusting. Attack the idea and not the person! The advent of cable news and social media has really made the way we debate toxic. Saints fans are guilty of this too though. Sad that we can’t debate football, let alone politics, without falling back into name calling and personal attacks.

  63. All of you so called fans of football arfe really disgusting. You really think you are an expert on the subject of football but you really just remind evryone of how really stupid you can be. You take everything at face value and critize those accused without ever really looking for the real truth. No you think it nust be treu because the NFL says it is so. I get really sick of hearing all those idiots complain about the Saints just because the Saints are a much better football team than about 90 % of the remaining teams in the NFL. You are rea;;y disgusting.

  64. Evidence? Favre’s ankle? Late hit after late hit? Me thinks you protest too much.

  65. I’m a Saints Fan… no doubt…

    The fact of the matter is quite simple.

    Williams had a Pay-per-performance system in place. He’s been doing that for many years. We Saints fans aren’t denying any wrong doing. We’re actually pretty pissed off to find that they were told to stop and didn’t. We’re upset at the fact that we had a coach that resorted to paying players monetary incentives to do a job that they’re already being paid handsomely to do. We as Saints fans accept “that” offense.

    But, it is blatantly obvious that Roger is wrong in his dealings of this issue. Fine the team, Take our draft picks (ouch), suspend three coaches and the GM (Daaaamn)…. now of the 22-27 players involved, you go after 4 of them… and that’s fine. You could have suspended the whole defense and been justified… seriously… all of them from 2009 – 2011.

    But to suspend players for the entire season, even half the season, is way too much. But worse, you “lie” no “categorize” the issue as a “Bounty” on players instead of a “pay-for-performance” system is where we all should draw the line. (I wont call it a “lie” because I want to be fair. Do I believe it’s a lie… yes, and here’s why…)

    That is defamatory and slanderous to the entire team… unless you show evidence of the matter. In the same way you’ve announced it.

    THAT IS WHY WE’RE HAPPY ABOUT VILMA’S DEFAMATION CASE! Finally somebody is going to challenge the NFL. I hope it doesn’t get dismissed, that would be a cop out by the judge in my opinion. They should have a case and let us New Orleanians be in the jury and we’ll get to the bottom of all this.

    I want to see the NFL Loose this one in court because I don’t believe they have the evidence and I believe this is all about MONEY!

    They are certainly about to loose the HUGE case dealing with concussions. So it’s not far off to think these accusations weren’t mis-catorgorized for that end….

    This isn’t about Vilma playing this season… that’s probably not gonna happen. We’ll be okay without Smith for a few games…

    Bottom line on this season…
    We’ll miss our coaches to some extent, but the team on the field is still a formidable one. Our Offense is still the top offense in the league statistically and our defense should be better due to addition by subtraction (Tracy Porter was short, New DC, other additions made in the offseason). We’ll have Drue and we’ll have our same winning swagger when they hit the field. We’re still a play-off team! If we aren’t, I think you all need to check the Vegas lines and get a clue! We’re still a 10-13 win team and that is why we’re gonna have a lot of haters… I’m cool with that! haha This is only gonna make us cheer louder and support our team more! Who Dat!

  66. If Gregg Williams is so innocent and did nothing wrong, why hasn’t he sued the NFL for defamation of character? The NFL vilified him to a point he’ll likely never coach on any level ever again. If the allegations are cooked up and untrue and exaggerated, why isn’t he screaming his innocence? He’s staying silent.

  67. Roger, you can take away the taints Lombardi. While you’re at it, please trade way the name to new jersey. The new Orleans devils sounds about right.

  68. Don’t defensive players get paid anyway for hitting? Maybe it should be called the TFL (touch football league)………. I think it would hysterical if the Saints just send a note to the Commish and tell him they are taking the year off…..

  69. franktherat96 says:
    May 21, 2012 3:44 PM
    Its amazing how so many people of quickly took the NFL’s bait…hook, line, and sinker. Without any proof whatsever you blindly believe them and think we Saints fans are crazy for standing behind our team. You all know good and well that if the NFL tried to do this to your team you would be doing the same thing we are…trying to fight back the best we can

    ——–

    No, if the NFL did this to my team I would be pissed that my team did such a horrible thing and would find a new team. Blind loyalty is great for the entity that you give it to but it won’t do much in your favor.

    The NFL is a private entity and can do what they wish with the evidence. The league office does not answer to the fans.

  70. Who cares anymore. Clearly both the saints and the fan base can and will twist this any way they want to make it look like a vendetta. Clearly, the feel good story of the saints from a few years back has been replaced with nationwide disdain and disgust. Funny how the only defenders of saints reside in New Orleans….

  71. Oh listen to the Goddell slurpers, Saints aren’t used to winning, yada, yada, yada…..Superbowl wins are good if you win it one time or ten times, Miss Moagecu. Anyway you cut and dice it, the Saints are the envy of losing franchises, and you slurpers can spin that anyway you like. When your team starts winning the haters will slurp to your team as well. In the mean time, Saints fans are loving the attention, good, bad, or indifferent. See ya in the playoffs, oh wait…..y’all hater fan bases will watch us in the playoffs and the Superbowl, AGAIN!! Booyah!!!!

  72. Anti-Saints posters are ridiculous. You say the Saints players are whiners because they want to see evidence before they lose months or a year of salary that they cannot recoup (since they are barred from playing for other teams also)? Well wouldn’t you want evidence if you felt you were wrongly terminated from your income? You say even if the Saints just had pay for performance not bounties this is all really because the Saints lied to the NFL and kept doing it? What team has ever admitted to any infraction and stopped doing it before the NFL got evidence? No other team has admitted to bounties, though many had them. Belichick never admitted to spygate and he did it after the NFL asked him to stop, but he got no suspension. Ben Roethlisberger has done worse things twice, after the NFL asked him to cut it out the first time.

  73. When the league accuses a player or team of cheating and/or lying, they need to release the information that led to that conclusion. Why are some of us still talking about Spygate years after the fact? Because the NFL destroyed all the evidence and then basically swept it under the rug. If there was nothing there that gave the Patriots a competitive advantage, then release the information and let everyone see it.

    In the Bountygate case the NFL has suspended a bunch of players without releasing the information that led to those suspensions. If you were a Saints fan, wouldn’t you feel cheated? If you were a Saints player isn’t it reasonable to think the league might be out to get you?

    Goodell has to stop playing God and show some transparency with his decisions. Explain why you do what you do, and then release the information that led to that conclusion.

    It saddens me how many of you jump to Goodell’s defense on this board. There’s no consistency with discipline in the NFL, and we seem to be entering a culture where “people are guilty because Goodell says so.” What happened to “innocent until proven guilty?” even in the court of public opinion?

  74. Too funny the way Aints fans say evidence there WASN’T a bounty system is that there were no cartoffs…

    NO CARTOFFS just shows how lame their defense is! You’d think just by showing up and playing for 3 years that somebody on the opposing offense would be injured. But nope, not one person!!!!!!

    The Aints defense is simply not talented enough to hurt anyone. Even with financial incentives…

  75. @mdd913 – Wrong, outside of the division no one really hated the Saints. I rooted for them after Katrina. @moagecu – is pretty much right, the arrogance of Saints fans had been unbelievable on PFT. Then, after talking all that smack before the 9er game, they didn’t come back the next day to take their medicine. Instead, a few days later they were offering week excuses and saying the 9ers weren’t skilled.

    To wit:

    @domeinate says: Jan 17, 2012 11:02 PM:

    “The SF journalists and fans at the Saints NOLA website called for stretcher games and glory in taking out other players rendering the team one-dimensional. Broke Romo’s ribs, broke Clemens ankle, concussed P Thomas. Seems the team is intimidated to win on skill. Players on the kick off return looked like demons from hell. Is this the NFL??? Team seems to reflect the fan base. Really creepy and full of bullies.”

    Ironic, huh?

  76. Some of you haters are just plain rediculous. Saints fans aren’t saying that the players are innocent or guilty. They just want the evidence to make a judgment–plain and simple. What’s that phrase from “1984”: Knowledge is Futile? Say “hi” to your big brother Godell.

    And the attacks regaurding Katrina are unwarranted. If you want to make remarks like that don’t hide behind a handle.

  77. would love to see them try to pull this on the raiders. IF Al was still alive you know they had better show the proof. Also what the heck does Benson have to say about all of this….he sure has been quiet these days…..he like casper the ghost these days.

  78. nineroutsider says: May 21, 2012 6:47 PM

    @mdd913 – Wrong, outside of the division no one really hated the Saints.

    ————————————————————-

    You can read stories and comments on this board going back a long time. I invite you to type the word “Saints” in the search box, go back to say 2010, and see some of the ugliest vitriol ever spewed on a website.

  79. @domeinate says: Jan 17, 2012 11:02 PM:

    “The SF journalists and fans at the Saints NOLA website called for stretcher games and glory in taking out other players rendering the team one-dimensional. Broke Romo’s ribs, broke Clemens ankle, concussed P Thomas. Seems the team is intimidated to win on skill. Players on the kick off return looked like demons from hell. Is this the NFL??? Team seems to reflect the fan base. Really creepy and full of bullies.”

    Ironic, huh?

    —————————————————————-

    Only ironic if you believe Goodell’s trumped-up charges. The lack of evidence so far suggests the Saints never had any intention of playing that way. FWIW.

  80. Haynesworth gets a few games for intentionally stomping a player’s face.

    Vilma gets a year for what basically amounts to trash talking in the locker room. – Remember, zero on-field injuries over the course of 3 years due to this “program”.

    When did off-field violations, which aren’t even well documented, punished worse than on-field violations, for which there is videotaped evidence?

    The Saints are being railroaded. The coaches can’t speak out against the NFL for fear of “not cooperating” with the league, and the players aren’t allowed to see the evidence against them.

    It’s interesting that the owners meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) will discuss the bounties and player punishments. While I have no wish to see Goodell’s career harmed, he very well may have gone overboard with these punishments and undermined himself with the players by appearing unfair and dictatorial. Vilma’s suit will likely try to capitalize on some of this perceived unfairness in the comments that the commish has made.

  81. litemater95 says: May 21, 2012 3:46 PM

    “It’s been well-documented that [Williams] had a similar pay-for-performance system at other places he’s coached,” one player close to the investigation told Freeman.

    What evidence? Tell me close player….
    ——————————————–
    How about an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune by ex-Redskins player Matt Bowen who talked about the pay for performance system in Washington while Williams was there? Is that public enough for you?

  82. sportsinhd says: May 21, 2012 6:32 PM

    When the league accuses a player or team of cheating and/or lying, they need to release the information that led to that conclusion. Why are some of us still talking about Spygate years after the fact? Because the NFL destroyed all the evidence and then basically swept it under the rug. If there was nothing there that gave the Patriots a competitive advantage, then release the information and let everyone see it.

    ——————————–

    you have it backwards bro…. the tapes implicated other teams doing the same thing. this is no secret. Goodell leaked what he wanted to his wife at Fox, then punished one team because they ignored his memo. this is no different from what the Jets were caught doing in Foxboro the very game before the Pats…. in fact it was a playoff game.

  83. The best part of ALL OF THIS: Saints fans saying that other fans are “jealous”..

    Saints Fans.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!

  84. They’re right. I guess one day Roger Goodell and the NFL woke up and decided they were going to falsely accuse the Saints of a bounty scandal. So with a bunch of made up evidence and lies they suspended the head coach, g.m., defensive coordinator, and players they framed.

    They made this whole thing up, which has become a huge embarrassment to the league. Why? So they could “railroad” the 100% innocent Saints players and coaches. Does that sound about right?

    I’m so tired of listening to these degenerate liars.

  85. Since Saints fans believe there was no injury bounty program due to the league not releasing the evidence (or they believe the league contrived the evidence), please explain to me why the league exposed the Saints on this issue. The Saints weren’t exposed by an outsider, but by the league. Also, keep in mind that the Saints belong to the league and that the league exposing the Saints was painful for the league, much like a corporate having to expose it’s franchisee to a governmental regulatory board. Does that make sense?

    To simplify it, why would the league “hate” on the Saints? I would like to see an intelligent answer here…if possible.

  86. League didn’t disclose the evidence against the Pats, still haven’t because it’s destroyed, but nobody on earth questions it’s existence. Why on earth is this being so hotly contested, the NFL as a private business has every right to do as it pleases with its employees. Pleading with the public or media isn’t going to help you, it’ll come out after the process takes its course and that will shape opinions. Right now, having the public on your side or against you means nothing because once the evidence is disclosed, if it is, the opinion will be made for you. If it never is disclosed then they have nothing to worry about because everyone will question the NFL anyway, so why keep whining and complaining? Or pleading? Just shh bc talking is only going to make you look dumb if there is evidence in the end and will not do anything for you if there isn’t. Either way it serves no purpose. Quiet already story is getting old.

  87. but what does drew bress think. please rush to him with a camera and microphone so we can hear what he thinks. WHO CARES!

  88. Nineroutsider,

    There’s not really a short answer. I don’t think he was out to get Payton and Williams, but I also don’t think they were two of his favorite people, so when the opportunity came to discipline them, and grandstand in the name of player safety in the midst of daily concussion lawsuits, he jumped at it. Goodell didn’t manufacture everything out of thin air, but I definitely think he rushed to judgment before considering everything.

    It was actually a disgruntled former Saints employee Mike Cerullo, who called up Goodell and got the ball rolling on bounty gate. He wanted to get back at Payton and Williams for firing him, and had let them know this, and also knew there was a locker room pay for performance system, and knew there had been bounty inquiries after the 2009-10 playoffs.

    So I think Goodell, who has this report of outrageous (and yes, the alleged behaviour of bounties and pay to injure is outrageous) goings on, after the team had previously denied and continued to deny any such activities, likely got pissed that he was being made a fool of. He got all the team emails, which include Ornstein’s infamous prison emails which concluded with an inside joke about the original bounty inquiries, and jumped to the conclusion that Cerullo’s allegations and the emails offering bounties on Rodgers and Newton were legit.

    The problem is that when you start to examine everything it doesn’t add up. Unfortunately I think Goodell set his mind that whatever the Saints told him was a lie and refused to consider their pleas that he was mistaken in his conclusions (remember, he said they continued to lie about it even weeks after he first announced his conclusions). Once he’d gone public and made a big deal out of it he put himself in the position of not being able to admit a mistake or back down, lest he appear weak.

    Finally, considerinng the question of why the league would go public with something so damaging if it weren’t true, ask yourself this: if this was truly so damaging to the league, why did they go public at all instead of handling it in house? The media didn’t break the story, the league did — they wanted the story to be made public. Let me repeat, the league wanted the story to be made public. Why would that be? Like I said, I don’t think they manufactured it out of thin air, but in the face of daily concussion lawsuits from former players, this gave the league the chance to change the subject and grandstand as the white knights looking out for the players.

  89. To simplify it, why would the league “hate” on the Saints? I would like to see an intelligent answer here…if possible.

    —————————————————————–

    Your answer is apparent and obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together – the league wants to deflect criticism towards its inept handling of the concussion issue.

    I mean, a couple years ago Roger Goodell stood in Congress and blatantly lied about the severity and impact on concussions in the NFL. Now he’s facing 80-something concussion lawsuits from 2,000-something former players, so he wants to be able to say he tried to do something about it.

    It’s as transparent as my 3-year old at dinnertime, hiding his vegetables in his pockets.

  90. Ben rothelsberger rapes one or two women and he is still allowed to play that same season and not even prosecuted in the courts. Funk all pro athletes who can do whatever they want and not face punishment. I don’t agree with goodell punishing people for being violent in a violent sport.. “are you not entertained” we pay them outrageous salaries to entertain us at their healths expense. They end up rich and punch drunk, and we end up poor and entertained. Fairs/fair

  91. This whole “bounty scandal” was presented by Goodell as paying money for cart-offs and injuries. That’s what he used to get everyone to support his actions. It was based on Vilma supposedly putting up 10 grand to take a qb out of a playoff game 3 years ago. Now, if Goodells information is not correct, and Vilma didn’t actually do that, then the basics of the “bounty Scandal” is mostly a fabrication. Vilma knows there’s no evidence if he knows he didn’t do what Goodell publicly accused him of. Filing a lawsuit to defend his name is really the only option of an innocent man, with this system the NFL uses. It needs to change in the interest of treating players and coaches fairly.

  92. Dear PFT, as an avid reader I demand that you release the names of the unnamed players you quoted in the article. If you are unable to provide proof that an actual Saints player made these statements I’m going to have to assume that you have no evidence and this article has no credibility.

  93. @booker1974 – Reasonable explanation, thanks. I partly agree with you about the league’s motives for making the program public; however, I believe that they did it more because they preferred to break the story over some media outlet…which surely wasn’t far behind. The league comes off better if they reveal the story themselves. I also believe that they feel the evidence further embarrasses the Saints and the league and the integrity of the game, so they prefer not to reveal it. I would be interested in seeing it though as the Saints certainly didn’t execute it well on the field.

    I honestly doubt we ever see it, which I think is too bad. You have to remember though that league doesn’t care about placating diehards like us, they care about what my mom thinks who was blown away and disgusted by the Williams tape. They care what my brother’s wife thinks who doesn’t want her sons playing that “blood sport”.

  94. Saints should be allowed to do whatever they want. They are entitled. How dare anyone question them!!? Break out those bags!

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