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League should simply release the ledger

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On Friday, a stream of leaks emanated from 345 Park Avenue regarding the alleged contents of a pay-for-performance/bounty ledger that was maintained, presumably by former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

As best we can ascertain via communications with multiple sources having knowledge of the investigation, the information leaked to various members of the media comes from the Power Point presentation that the league shared in April with NFLPA representatives.  The raw data — a copy of the ledger itself — apparently has not been disseminated, as evidenced by the fairly significant error contained in the initial report from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports.

Cole wrote that the ledger reflects three $1,000 payments to Saints players following a September 2009 game against the Bills.  After we explained that the injuries from the Bills game don’t mesh with the contention that three $1,000 payments were made, Cole’s sources told him that the trio of four-figure party favors actually came from a November 2009 game against the Panthers.

Even then, the injuries that were inflicted in that game don’t seem to match the notion that three Panthers were carted off.

The end result is an even murkier mess that can never be clarified until raw evidence is released.  Given the manner in which the league’s characterization of two items of evidence that have made their way to the media (i.e., the Anthony Hargrove declaration and the Mike Ornstein email) failed to correctly reflect their actual contents, there’s no reason to believe that any description or summary of raw evidence from the league is or will be accurate.

So if there’s a ledger, leak the ledger.  Better yet, produce the ledger via a press release — the same kind of press release that accused linebacker Jonathan Vilma of offering $10,000 payments for the infliction of injuries on quarterbacks Brett Favre and Kurt Warner, without of course any of the raw evidence that backs up that accusation.

How do we know what the ledger actually says until the ledger itself can be examined, objectively and independently?  Given the glitches in Friday’s reporting, and the lingering question regarding whether three Panthers players were in fact carted off or otherwise knocked out of the game with injury, it’s entirely possible that the $1,000 payments were for big — and legal — hits that inflicted no harm of any kind.

And so, at a time when some are content to conclude that the multiple reports regarding the ledger represent compelling evidence that a bounty system existed, we’re still no closer to knowing the truth than we were before the Yahoo! servers spit/spat out Cole’s story.  In fact, there’s an argument to be made that the leaked characterization of the ledger actually undermines the league’s claims.

Either way, no one should come to any conclusions until sufficient raw evidence that there actually was a bounty system is publicly disclosed.

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21 Responses to “League should simply release the ledger”
  1. goodellgate says: Jun 2, 2012 12:39 PM

    Roger Goodell*

  2. northlawhodat says: Jun 2, 2012 12:42 PM

    Thank you!

  3. jason1980 says: Jun 2, 2012 12:44 PM

    Goddell surely isn’t gonna show his loyal slurpers that he really doesn’t have any “real raw evidence”, just his personal gut feeling. Where did all the haters go? This story isn’t looking good to them anymore, they are finally realizing that they have been doped by Goddell and the NFL. Where are the owners, they are very silent while their interest is being trashed like garbage daily by the league office? This is getting more interesting by the day.

  4. hedleykow says: Jun 2, 2012 12:45 PM

    This leak just in: the bountygate scandal is an internal matter and it is being handled. Home schooled, amateur lawyers are free to move on to legal matters they are actually experts on, like which district of Kenya president Obama was born in. Better hurry.

  5. kattykathy says: Jun 2, 2012 12:50 PM

    Goodell is leaking bits and pieces of misleading info. He already thru Cole under the bus, what legitimate journelist wants to ruin their reputation by reporting these bits of “evidence”? Goodell is spinning and misleading these reporters, and in turn, the public.

    Why doesn’t Goodell hold a press conference and release everything? Cause he has only little crumbs of innuendo, and sketchy accusations from a disgruntled employee and a 15 minute fame seeker who thru a dying man under the bus for fame!

    If Goodell had the evidence of “bounties” he would have made it public with great fanfare like his Vilma statement, Not use reporters to leak misleading emails, “admission statements” that were not admissions at all, and vague innuendo.

    Vilma publicly called Goodell out as a liar and a defamer. Him and his attorney have publicly called him out to prove the allegations and show evidence. More and more in the media are calling for the same, and what does Goodell do?

    He leaks bits and pieces of suspect circumstantial emails that proved to be inaccurate.
    He leaks a declaration of “admission” from a player, that turns out to be very misleading and NOT an admission at all.
    He leaks a ledger info that was quickly proved to be suspect.
    He then leaks another ledger entry that was also quickly proved to be innaccurate.

    Anybody with a rational mind can see this is very shady activity from the league and would be leery about what the leagues claims are now. Only haters stand by this and continue to latch onto hope.

    Roger hasn’t proved any bounty existed. The coaches admitted a “pay for performance plan did exist though”
    All Roger has done is prove he is a snake and can not be trusted and will spin words to fit his agenda

  6. randolph32 says: Jun 2, 2012 12:50 PM

    So we’re really back to BEFORE square 1….wouldn’t be amazing if Goodell mistook the whole thing?

  7. wisccowboyfan says: Jun 2, 2012 1:07 PM

    I’m reading about this ledger and I’m thinking, maybe they just embellished a big hit to the word cart-off to make it seem like an even bigger hit. That’s what I think and the post says that a little too.

  8. wunsa says: Jun 2, 2012 1:07 PM

    So now we’re MUCH closer to the TRUTH. And the truth is that Herr Kommissar has ZERO evidence of a pay-for-injure bounty program…at least none that hasn’t been completely debunked.

  9. drunkenjunk says: Jun 2, 2012 1:18 PM

    thanks Florio you’ve done an amazing job with all of this.

  10. kattykathy says: Jun 2, 2012 1:21 PM

    The “evidence” so far:
    A joking email sent from a convict.
    An “admission” statement from a player that was not in fact an admission, but instead a misleading document leaked by the league.
    A supposed confession by Greg Williams that in fact was NOT a confession at all.
    A ledger entry leaked from Goodell that was instantly proved inaccurate.
    A 2nd ledger entry leaked by Goodell that was also instantly proved inaccurate.

    Yea, looks like a strong case to me……….NOT.

    Jonathan Vilma publicly and as strongly stated that he did not do what Goodell said he did. He said Goodell lied and defamed him. Even SUED him!!!
    He has publicly begged Goodell to show some evidence and Goodell has FAILED.

    Sure looks like an open and shut case huh?

    Would you trust Goodell if he were YOUR boss?

  11. pftbillsfan says: Jun 2, 2012 1:23 PM

    Y2K, Octomom, Mayan Prophecies, and Bountygate. What are things I’d rather tear my hair out than read about Alex?

  12. genericuser8888 says: Jun 2, 2012 1:31 PM

    3 fumbles recovered by the Saints in the Panther’s game.

    3 $1,000 payments in that game.

    Pay for performance or pay for injuries?

    Think about it.

  13. geauxsaintsforever says: Jun 2, 2012 1:31 PM

    Yes, but why would we want to let facts get in the way of a “good” story?

  14. scomibord says: Jun 2, 2012 1:40 PM

    Mike Florio wants an explanation.

  15. schmokes says: Jun 2, 2012 2:24 PM

    So Goodell decided to randomly punish a team for bounties with no evidence? And the team he randomly chose happens to be the team that the NFL has been exploiting as the “feel good story” of the decade? And when he punished the coaches, they apologized without making a major stink about the whole thing?

    How dumb are the saints fans, really?

  16. jc327 says: Jun 2, 2012 2:37 PM

    On the flip side, the people in the ledger may want to keep this private just as much as the league does. The punishment is public because of the nature of the whole thing, but the truth is the league is not publicly owned and this whole thing is more or less a private disciplinary matter. The league really doesn’t owe anybody a look at what proof they have, and by all rights probably should keep it private.

  17. ndnut says: Jun 2, 2012 3:03 PM

    Pay for Performance is against league rules as well as the traditional bounty. They just carry less severe punishment.

  18. ghlatty says: Jun 2, 2012 3:25 PM

    I don’t think there is any doubt that the Saints were engaged in a play for performance scheme. There is also no doubt that Gregg Williams’ taped comments before the 49er game was reprehensible. Gregg Williams has been suspended indefinately (probably permanently), the team was fined and lost high draft picks, the head coach and assistant head coach were suspended. Those penalties were appropriate based solely on the Williams recording.

    However, where were the ejections of players by the referee or suspensions after the games from the league? Yes, pay for performance is illegal and those punishments were meted out. The league should draw a clear distinction between the pay for performance and a bounty with regards to the players. Seems to me that the shield is being tarnished as much by the league as the Saints.

    Erase all doubt, if there is evidence against the players produce it!

  19. euroamericans says: Jun 2, 2012 4:06 PM

    youtube the scott fujita hit on steve smith. all the evidence you need right there.

  20. kodakinvegas says: Jun 2, 2012 6:03 PM

    P.S. Not to mention he was speaking as an officer of the NFL, not an individual so they’re suing the wrong one. Case Dismissed. Goodell is PROTECTED by the Corporate Veil and you know it.

  21. ericflynt says: Jun 3, 2012 12:49 AM

    euroamericans says:
    Jun 2, 2012 4:06 PM
    youtube the scott fujita hit on steve smith. all the evidence you need right there.

    —————————————–

    Evidence of what? That football was played? Compare the Saints’ defensive aggression with San Francisco’s or Baltimore’s. There’s absolutely zero evidence of the bounties on the field, and apparently just as much evidence of them elsewhere (unless we start accepting “because I said so” in court). Someone here is lying about the facts, but only one side is trying to get those facts released to the public. That’s kamikazi behavior for someone who’s supposedly guilty.

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