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Shanle says league exaggerated Saints pay-for-performance plan

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The Saints have launched their first mandatory minicamp of a highly eventful offseason, and for the first time a member of the team’s defense spoke on the record in detail about the team’s pay-for-performance system, which the league has concluded was a bounty program.

According to Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, linebacker Scott Shanle explained that, in his view, the NFL made the team’s habit of giving players cash for big plays into something far more sinister than it was.

He believes (as do plenty of others) that the league exaggerated the situation in order to justify making an example out of the Saints, which in turn would deter others from using bounties in the future.

Shanle said that terms like “cart-offs” and “knockouts” came from the hyperbolic lexicon of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.  “Gregg said crazy stuff,” Shanle said.  “If you take him literally, you’re gonna be locked up.  But he was the best motivator I’ve ever been around.”

Shanle said that, if/when there’s a reunion of the Super Bowl XLIV championship team, he hopes Williams will attend.

“There’s been this picture painted that [Jonathan] Vilma was standing in front of the defense before every game picking out players to go after and offering money,” Shanle said.  “It was blown up to be something more than it is.”

Actually, no one has painted that picture.  The league has accused Vilma of offering $10,000 to anyone who knocked former Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner out of a 2009 NFC divisional playoff game and anyone who knocked former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC title game.  The league has produced no evidence to support that claim, but Vilma’s soundbite of choice continues to be that he never paid or intended to pay any money for injuries, which theoretically provides a safe harbor for eventually admitting he offered the money via the same cartoonish pre-game approach that Williams employed.

Still, Shanle held firm.  “I never saw any money for injuring somebody exchange hands,” he said.

It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, or that money didn’t change hands for big hits that incidentally and unintentionally injured the person who got hit.  Still, until the NFL gives us something more than characterizations of evidence that may or may not match up with the raw data, there’s no way of knowing who’s telling the truth.

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47 Responses to “Shanle says league exaggerated Saints pay-for-performance plan”
  1. kcfanatic says: Jun 5, 2012 4:01 PM

    I’m bored with this. Move on.

  2. sdisme says: Jun 5, 2012 4:12 PM

    Exactly what every Saints fan has been yelling for 3 months.

    If this is what R. Goodell has proof of, he needs to start reducing punishment. Can he reduce penalties and still save face? If not that is a problem with this current system.

    If he has proof that the Saints targeted players to injure he needs to produce that evidence. Specifically the names he released (Rodgers, Newton).

    Look I like Goodell, but if this is a all the Saints did the punishments are not only too extreme, they also hurt the game of football.

  3. iberiasaint says: Jun 5, 2012 4:17 PM

    I believe the man. There were (illegal) payments made for big legal hits, fumble recoveries, interceptions, etc but not for cart offs and intentional injuries. Seems to me that there would be video evidence of a “bounty” program if one existed. Everything is on video for every play of every game. The punishment is wayyyyyy to severe for the pay for performance that the Saints and most if not all other teams use. My two cents. Geaux Saints!

  4. Buttsnake says: Jun 5, 2012 4:20 PM

    He’s exactly right. Goodell is ruining the NFL.

  5. panamon says: Jun 5, 2012 4:23 PM

    Not once does he say money was never offered for injury-related “achievements” nor does he say (he actually implies the opposite) that Gregg W. never used language which could in any way encourage players to injure (with or without money, and we know there was money in general).

  6. sf944 says: Jun 5, 2012 4:24 PM

    “Shanle said the practice of side bets between players is common throughout the NFL, although the program the Saints had in place under Williams may have been more organized than most. Shanle said Williams introduced it as a “fun part of our defense.”
    But that doesn’t mean it was a bonanza. He said players would lose money just as easily as gaining money, thanks to fines for penalties and mental errors. So penalties or illegal hits were actually discouraged.”

  7. strokeytheclown says: Jun 5, 2012 4:30 PM

    Hey Saints, just shut the hell up already! You have a season to prepare for.

  8. nflfan555 says: Jun 5, 2012 4:37 PM

    I think the Saints should apologize and move on – I think Goodell is much smarter than the Saints organization thinks he is and has some really damaging evidence (The guy is a lawyer by education and occupation). I think that the Saints should say ok we lost a crappy linebacker and a a fairly good DE, but only for 4 games, thats not bad. Move on, the more you complain the more you look like whiners and cheaters. Your approach should be: “were sorry – wont happen again”. I think if you keep pushing Goodell will drop a bomb on you and your organization and your image will be tarnished forever. Your the most hated team in the league today, that will fade in a year or so if you quietly move on…

  9. jealst says: Jun 5, 2012 4:38 PM

    The penalties should reflect a pay for performance program, not a bounty program.

  10. stopyourlies says: Jun 5, 2012 4:39 PM

    Sean Patyon: “We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch.”

    That’s enough evidence right there. If Mike Florio says PFT did something then I don’t care what Joe Alper has to say about it. The men in charge of the team said it happened. It happened.

  11. mjkelly77 says: Jun 5, 2012 4:42 PM

    At first there were no payments. Now there were but they were “pay for performance” bonuses. They’re guilty and got caught. Give it up already. I hope the IRS steps in and slaps all their pee pees.

  12. geauxsaintsforever says: Jun 5, 2012 4:43 PM

    strokeytheclown says:
    Jun 5, 2012 4:30 PM
    Hey Saints, just shut the hell up already! You have a season to prepare for.

    We all wish you had a season to prepare for so that you could listen to your own advice.

  13. thingamajig says: Jun 5, 2012 4:46 PM

    Shanle held firm. “I never saw any money for injuring somebody exchange hands,” he said.

    Carefully worded answer. Looks like lawyer speak to me.

  14. eagleswin says: Jun 5, 2012 4:56 PM

    sdisme says:Jun 5, 2012 4:12 PM

    Exactly what every Saints fan has been yelling for 3 months.

    ———————————————

    Saints fans have had blinders on for alot more than 3 months.

    The last paragraph from the Saints press release regarding the bounties :

    To our fans, the NFL and the rest of our league, we offer our sincere apology and take full responsibility for these serious violations. It has always been the goal of the New Orleans Saints to create a model franchise and to impact our league in a positive manner. There is no place for bounties in our league and we reiterate our pledge that this will never happen again.

    If the Saints owner admits it, that should be all you need. You aren’t entitled to see the raw evidence.

    By the way Saints fans, why was Drew Brees (and the NFLPA) involved in trying to frame this as a coaching issue (per Pamphillon)? Drew Brees got awfully involved in trying to cover up for his teammates for someone who didn’t know anything.

  15. athoula707 says: Jun 5, 2012 4:59 PM

    Saints players needs to stop crying and take it like man, don’t be little bit***. You have made mistake and pay the price.

  16. stellarperformance says: Jun 5, 2012 5:06 PM

    Are they being used as scapegoats to enable the NFL to demonstrate their resolve to protect players from injury? Of course! If you paint yourself with a specific brush, you damn well better like the color. Next subject.

  17. wilddeuce03 says: Jun 5, 2012 5:07 PM

    Can we please remember something key to this…..Williams ADMITTED to the whole dang thing!!!!!!! Yet people keep denying it! Seriously?!

  18. trubroncfan07 says: Jun 5, 2012 5:07 PM

    You guys are so right, Goodell is ruining football. He will go down as the worst commissioner in NFL history. Owners better wake up!

  19. CKL says: Jun 5, 2012 5:13 PM

    Goodell makes examples of things. Large punishments are meant to put a stop to whatever it is for good. No more, no less.

  20. sdisme says: Jun 5, 2012 5:19 PM

    eagleswin says:
    Jun 5, 2012 4:56 PM
    The last paragraph from the Saints press release regarding the bounties :

    To our fans, the NFL and the rest of our league, we offer our sincere apology and take full responsibility for these serious violations. It has always been the goal of the New Orleans Saints to create a model franchise and to impact our league in a positive manner. There is no place for bounties in our league and we reiterate our pledge that this will never happen again.

    If the Saints owner admits it, that should be all you need. You are not’t entitled to see the raw evidence.

    ——————————————-

    That statement was the joint statement of Loomis and Payton. Not Tom Benson.

    However, according to standard player contracts, the players are entitled to a hearing with council. That would assume evidence would be made available to council. This is the reason the NFLPA didn’t want the players going to New York. The NFL would not provide evidence for them to defend.

    As for your above statement, the coaches and GM are not entitled to anything. They just have to play ball or quit.

  21. jus10jonez says: Jun 5, 2012 5:24 PM

    Dress Brees wants an explanation

  22. ilovefoolsball says: Jun 5, 2012 5:26 PM

    Everyone keeps quoting the coaches apology letters.

    Is there anything more disingenuous than a letter from someone who is apologizing just to save his job?
    Politicians apologize all the time for stuff they’re not sorry for because they have to in order to save their job, this is the same situation.

    The League told the coaches and GM to apologize or face even harsher penalties, they had no other choice.

    The coaches don’t have a union that fights for them, they are “in house” NFL, they are the “NFL”.

    For those of you quoting coaches let me say something you can relate to…
    You live at home with your parents (don’t lie you do, or at least they support you financially).
    Your parents tell you that you need to apologize for something that you didn’t really do or maybe you just weren’t paying attention and something went awry. You have a choice, you can apologize and keep your job (in your case your entitled lifestyle) or you can stand your ground and have to find a job.
    What would you do?
    Don’t say you would stand your ground because you know that you always take the easy road in every segment of your life.

    So be honest with yourself, you’d apologize too.
    If not, then you would’ve found a job by now and moved out of your parent’s spare bedroom.
    For God’s sake man you’re nearing your 30’s, time to grow up.

  23. 49erstim says: Jun 5, 2012 5:28 PM

    Much ado about nothing? They tried to injure players from other teams. They’ve done a less than masterful job covering it up as well…..but Scott Shanle denies its “real” existence so I guess he is right. Just take your medicine, move on and stop trying to be the victims! Sheesh!

  24. musicman495 says: Jun 5, 2012 5:33 PM

    wilddeuce03 says: Jun 5, 2012 5:07 PM

    Can we please remember something key to this…..Williams ADMITTED to the whole dang thing!!!!!!! Yet people keep denying it! Seriously?!
    ————————
    Seriously, can you read the words “pay for performance”? That is not an admission of a pay to injure system:

    “I want to express my sincere regret and apology to the NFL, (Saints owner) Mr. (Tom) Benson, and the New Orleans Saints fans for my participation in the ‘pay for performance’ program while I was with the Saints,” Williams, now defensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams, said in a statement. “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.”

  25. treesloth16 says: Jun 5, 2012 5:33 PM

    The punishment (suspensions, fines, draft picks) is not equivalent to the crime (pay-for-performance). So if this is the case, isn’t this just a violation of salary cap? Which means several draft picks, not suspensions? It seems like Goodell’s just got a grudge. Just wait till he’s got a bone to pick with your team. People who are commenting ‘Oh, just move on already!’ won’t be singing the same tune when their team gets jacked up the Arse by the commish.

    I’m not even a Saints fan.

  26. eagleswin says: Jun 5, 2012 5:33 PM

    sdisme says:Jun 5, 2012 5:19 PM

    That statement was the joint statement of Loomis and Payton. Not Tom Benson.

    However, according to standard player contracts, the players are entitled to a hearing with council. That would assume evidence would be made available to council. This is the reason the NFLPA didn’t want the players going to New York. The NFL would not provide evidence for them to defend.

    As for your above statement, the coaches and GM are not entitled to anything. They just have to play ball or quit.

    ———————————————

    What if Vilma had shown up to talk to Goodell (with his attorney)?

    NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded to Vilma’s assertion via e-mail to NFL.com and NFL Network.

    “He was invited to come in with his attorney to discuss the evidence prior to any decision on discipline,” Aiello wrote. “He declined. He has another opportunity to do so in his appeal. The union has been shown evidence.”

    I guess we’ll never know because he’s following the NFLPA’s lead. Vilma would be more credible if he had gone to talk to the commisioner and then claimed that he had not been shown evidence.

    Right now, it’s the equivalent of “if i close my eyes, it doesn’t exist” because it sounds like the league did give him the opportunity. They just didn’t give him the opportunity to leak information to ESPN.

  27. brianbosworthisstonecold says: Jun 5, 2012 5:34 PM

    Put the paper bags on already! Nola is irrelevant again.

  28. neauxgeaux44 says: Jun 5, 2012 5:51 PM

    Gooberdell is not an attorney…and to the Bozoworthidiot above – get a life loser….

  29. fusion3450 says: Jun 5, 2012 6:05 PM

    why is there always an idiot or two saying that williams and payton admitted to the whole thing? no they didn’t. and if you believe otherwise, maybe go back and actually read and see what exactly they said

  30. ikoikofinanay says: Jun 5, 2012 6:08 PM

    Hey stopyourlies, at the time Payton said that the NFL hadn’t released ANYTHING but the fact that a pay-for-performance system was in place, idiot. And THAT’S good enough for me.

    All we’re saying is the penalties do NOT fit the crime, not that didn’t break the rules.

  31. mdenemiller says: Jun 5, 2012 6:09 PM

    I do find it interesting that the players originally denied anything happened and now they are saying that it wasn’t that bad and is being exaggerated. Not saying the punishment fit the crimes, but apparently there was something going on.

  32. cwwgk says: Jun 5, 2012 6:10 PM

    @musicman495: can you read the word “BOUNTIES” in the statement issued by the Saints organization in which it apologized for violating league rules as alleged by the NFL and pledged to never again operate a bounty system?

    How come those supporting Vilma choose not to believe the owner of the Saints, the general manager of the Saints and the head coach of the Saints when they express remorse for allowing a bounty program to have been conducted by their organization? Do they really want to forfeit millions of dollars of their own money to sabotage their own team?

  33. sdisme says: Jun 5, 2012 6:14 PM

    eagleswin says:
    Jun 5, 2012 5:33 PM
    What if Vilma had shown up to talk to Goodell (with his attorney)?

    NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responded to Vilma’s assertion via e-mail to NFL.com and NFL Network.

    “He was invited to come in with his attorney to discuss the evidence prior to any decision on discipline,” Aiello wrote. “He declined. He has another opportunity to do so in his appeal. The union has been shown evidence.”

    ___________________________________

    Exactly ….Look at Greg Aiello’s statement.
    Then the NFLPA’s statement

    Foxworth reiterates that the league has yet to provide “specific, detailed evidence of player involvement in a pay-to-injure program.”

    As we understand it, the NFL has provided only the March 2 report of NFL Security, the March 21 announcement of penalties against the Saints and various non-players, and a 20-slide Power Point presentation that was shown but not given to NFLPA representatives at a meeting in New York.

    Coach Payton and Tom Benson went talk to the commissioner and were not allowed to see the evidence. Coach Payton maintained in his interview at the owners meeting that he has been honest with the commissioner. Goodell stated he hasn’t been honest. It’s all a game of pointing fingers.

    Look at why Hargrove was singled out in the Burbank ruling: I Hargrove was punished for receiving payment he may fall under Burbank’s jurisdiction. Why do you think 22-27 players were not suspended? It’s because Goodell didn’t want this falling into someone else’s jurisdiction. He knows his evidence is bad. He jumped the gun and came full force. He hoped to get the NFLPA on his side and failed.

  34. ikoikofinanay says: Jun 5, 2012 6:15 PM

    Hey eagleswin, the NFL wrote the statement and insisted that the org sign at the point of a gun aimed at INCREASING the penalties. The league is just wrong on this issue. You should just go back to your own board. You have NOTHING to offer here.

  35. goldrush36 says: Jun 5, 2012 6:45 PM

    I don’t know why people act like this is just a grudge or stunt. The Saints are (were) one the league’s media darlings after all they accomplished in the rebuilding after Katrina. It was a true American success story. So hey let’s make something up about them…. that would be a real winner and ticket seller. Give me a freakin break. Having a team like the Saints or any of the high publicity teams involved in something like this was the league’s worst nightmare.. give it a rest

  36. jay6666 says: Jun 5, 2012 6:57 PM

    Well…one must remember that the Saints were warned a few years ago to stop this practice. The coaches knew, the players knew AND they kept doing what THEY KNEW was something Goodell said to stop.
    The punishments? Harsh…but I THINK they would have been a LOT less had they stopped when told instead of giving the finger to the Commish AND continuing what they KNEW was wrong.
    The Saints need to stop whining and and move on…take it like men. I DO think Goodell HAS evidence and does NOT wish to air their dirty laundry in public. If he’s pushed I have a feeling it will LOOK WORSE for the Saints and, the league.
    I am NO fan of Badell…but I do think he’s been
    closer to fair here.

  37. genericuser8888 says: Jun 5, 2012 7:04 PM

    Eagleswin,

    That apology that you keep referencing from the team is worthless. Payton and Loomis HAD to issue some sort of apology to be in compliance with the league. If they did not, they risked lengthening their suspensions. They wrote that statement with their entire careers in danger.

    Payton denies even knowing about the bounties. Goodell even mentioned in an interview that Payton was suspended for “lack of institutional control”. He wasn’t even suspended for bounties! Goodell said “If he didn’t know, he should have.” Go look it up! — So, when the Saints issue some apology to satisfy league requirements, it doesn’t really carry much weight because these men had to apologize, rightly or wrongly, or risk losing their jobs.

    Also, you’ll notice that they take responsibility for “serious violations”, but wait a sentence or two later to simply state “there is no place for bounties in our league and we reiterate our pledge that this will never happen again.” “serious violations” could be anything from a pay to performance program to a “lack of institutional control” (in Goodell’s words).

    In other words, if you read it, it *implies* that they may have had a bounty program, but they never explicitly state “we had a bounty program and we are sorry.” Instead, it says “We take responsibility for serious violations”. “bounty programs are wrong. They will never happen again.” Technically, in legal speak, they never admitted a bounty program! However, they were *forced* to write an apology that would satisfy the league’s needs (a bounty apology). So, they wrote an apology that technically, only admits responsibility for “serious violations”, but not directly for bounties. Basically, they satisfy the league, and they don’t specifically admit to bounties.

    And, you said that “the owner admitted it”, but the owner didn’t admit anything! The NFL said that there was no evidence that the owner ever knew anything about the program (if one existed).

    Some people will say I’m splitting hairs here, but with important stuff like this, the language is VERY important should lawsuits ever arise.

  38. liontomyself says: Jun 5, 2012 8:27 PM

    sdisme / ikoikofinanay / genericuser8888,

    I’m just observing here and do not care either way……but, you keep saying that Payton and Loomis “HAD” to issue an apology out of fear and your owner “didn’t admit anything”.

    You are right, the owner…..who should fear NO ONE except MAYBE 31 other owners….has said NOTHING…..No “there was no bounty”, no “I’m appealing the punishment because it is too harsh” like the Cowboys and Redskins did for their “punishments”….NOTHING. He is accepting the punishment as not “too harsh”…these billionaires would not be seperated from one dollar if they can help it….HE is accepting the term “bounty” (by neither admitting nor denying it) Therefore, HIS punishment fits the crime…that tells me SOMETHING happened (call it what you want), it is BAD for football and the punishments are NOT too severe.

  39. hobbstweedle says: Jun 5, 2012 8:32 PM

    What a clown. He reveals his bias when he says, “[Williams] was the best motivator I’ve ever been around.”

    Please.

  40. dt584ever says: Jun 5, 2012 8:33 PM

    Why is there always a couple of idiots like fusion3450 that call other people idiots without reading the facts.

    For all who believe the Aints did NOT have a bounty program a Quote from Greg Williams the man who ran it “I am truly sorry” and the program was a “terrible mistake and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it.
    And this is why they were punished they knew it was wrong.

  41. cowboyscanada says: Jun 5, 2012 8:53 PM

    Sick of hearing Saints crap,,, sick of hearing about lawsuits, sick of hearing millionaires and billionairs argue with each other…

  42. booker1974 says: Jun 5, 2012 10:00 PM

    I don’t think anyone has denied that there was a pay for performance pool — it’s why the coaches couldn’t really fight back as it was against the rules. However, there’s a big difference between a locker room big play pool that was really more about team camaraderie than money, and a sinister pay to injure system targetting opposing players, which is how the league framed it.

    Seriously, four months ago, if you were told that a team was paying players to injure opponents, based simply upon what everyone had seen on the field from a fan’s perspective, would anyone have suspected that team was the Saints? Maybe the 49ers, with all the running backs they injured last year, but the Saints? The on field play surely didn’t match Williams’ rhetoric nor the league’s allegations.

  43. 11jlacy says: Jun 5, 2012 10:34 PM

    Say bro. Im tired of this bounty stuff lets just strap up n handle business lets go black n gold.

  44. sdisme says: Jun 6, 2012 12:27 AM

    liontomyself says:
    Jun 5, 2012 8:27 PM
    sdisme / ikoikofinanay / genericuser8888,

    I’m just observing here and do not care either way……but, you keep saying that Payton and Loomis “HAD” to issue an apology out of fear and your owner “didn’t admit anything”.

    You are right, the owner…..who should fear NO ONE except MAYBE 31 other owners….has said NOTHING…..No “there was no bounty”, no “I’m appealing the punishment because it is too harsh” like the Cowboys and Redskins did for their “punishments”….NOTHING. He is accepting the punishment as not “too harsh”…these billionaires would not be seperated from one dollar if they can help it….HE is accepting the term “bounty” (by neither admitting nor denying it) Therefore, HIS punishment fits the crime…that tells me SOMETHING happened (call it what you want), it is BAD for football and the punishments are NOT too severe.

    _______________________________

    Liontomyself

    Mr. Benson (The Saints) was punished $500,000 and 2 draft picks. There was an appeal.

    And you are correct “something” did happen. And don’t get me wrong, the Saints deserved a punishment.

    To use an anology… The Saints were accused of and punished for 1st degree murder. When in actuality the crime was simple battery.

    What the Saints actually did was no different than Schwartz admitting to rewarding for big hits (google it). And actually less questionable than Rex Ryan’s dotting program. – Now don’t get me wrong what they were accused of was far worse.

  45. brianbosworthisstonecold says: Jun 6, 2012 1:06 AM

    neauxgeaux44 | Jun 5, 2012, 2:51 PM PDT
    Gooberdell is not an attorney…and to the Bozoworthidiot above – get a life loser….

    ——————-

    No go, I suggest you geaux back to eating road kill and eating possum soup with your inbred grandmother.

    – Cajun Man

  46. larryjames836 says: Jun 6, 2012 2:02 AM

    We not worried about Roger Goodell are nor of his fanbase all I know is that Roger Goodell is going to stand before our Saints fanbase and present this 2013 championship and everything that comes with it to the WHODATNATION. Better known as the BIG EASY if you not a WHODAT you wouldn’t understand what the BIG EASY means so you I’m not going to bore you people’s with this issue but remember the 2012 offseason then your mind will register what you guys was saying about the WHODAT’S. But what’s really going to blow you guys mind is going to be at the end of 2012 is when one of the other 31 teams must face the suppose to be bounty hunter. The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell give us that name and we not afriad of that name so in 2013 down in the BIG EASY better known as New Orleans whoever left standing from the other 31 teams. You guys will be facing the bounty hunters, Roger Goodell you also will face the bounty hunters make sure you don’t have a change of mind yes we are hosting it and we going to win and you can sign us up for another History.

  47. silentcount says: Jun 6, 2012 3:01 AM

    Goodell was at fault for intentionally exaggerating to support his agenda. It was wrong for him to create public outrage by accusing the Saints of trying to intentionally injure other players for pay. He knows that wasn’t the case and he knew he had no real evidence to support his claims. I’m as tired of this whole “bounty scandal” as anybody. However, Goodell had no fair system in place for the coaches or players to challenge this. Vilma’s lawsuit was his only option. The coaches could only “Sign this and shut up or I’ll make it worse.” The truth needs to come out to determine if Goodell should be trusted to keep his job. It looks like he needs to go.

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