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NFL makes less than 200 pages available in bounty case

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When it comes to the Saints bounty case, it’s finally time to dust off one of the most memorable catch phrases of the 1980s.

At roughly 2:00 p.m. ET on Friday, the NFL delivered by courier to the NFLPA the information on which the league plans to rely at Monday’s appeal hearings as to suspensions imposed on Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove, and Browns linebacker Scott Fujita.

From a much-ballyhooed 50,000-page file (which by its sheer volume presumably means that there was a bounty system, right?), the NFL surrendered, we’re told, fewer than 200 pages of information, arising from 16 total documents, which includes among other things handwritten notes, the email from Mike Ornstein containing the reference to the alleged $5,000 bounty on Aaron Rodgers, and seven different Power Point presentations shown by Saints coaches to players.

The league also produced footage from the 2009 NFC title game, with emphasis on a legal hit applied to Vikings quarterback Brett Favre followed by a player being heard asking for his “money.”

Surprisingly, the “evidence” produced by the NFL includes things that clearly aren’t evidence.  For example, the league’s submission includes the rambling 10,000-plus word online manifesto posted on May 31 by Sean Pamphilon, and a June 6 article by Mike Triplette of the New Orleans Times-Picayune, in which he interviews linebacker Scott Shanle.

Per a source familiar with the information produced by the NFL, the packet contains no obvious smoking gun.  “It’s a water gun,” the source said.

That said, the source cautioned that review of the materials is ongoing.  Initial scrutiny of the information reveals evidence of salary cap violations, but it includes no evidence of players being paid to inflict injury, players paying others to inflict injury, or players offering money to others to inflict injury.  For example, the NFLPA has yet to locate in the packet any evidence establishing that linebacker Jonathan Vilma offered $10,000 to anyone who inflicted injury on Brett Favre or Kurt Warner during the 2009 playoffs.

Perhaps most significantly, the submission doesn’t include the bounty ledger about which Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported a couple of weeks ago.

The source said that the package of information also contains no list of witnesses to be called by the NFL, which reinforces the perception that Commissioner Roger Goodell will simply give the players the opportunity to explain their side of the story.

With such a limited compilation of evidence and no apparent plan to call witnesses — and no likely inclination to make witnesses available to be questioned by the players — it wouldn’t surprise us if linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who has sued Commissioner Roger Goodell, refuses to proceed.  Or if, at a minimum, Vilma refuses to say anything until the NFL produces real evidence showing that Vilma offered money for injury to be inflicted on another player.

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40 Responses to “NFL makes less than 200 pages available in bounty case”
  1. SeenThisB4 says: Jun 15, 2012 5:10 PM

    Seems like it’s all circumstanial evidence….not surprising. A house of cards. But, Goodell’s not going to overturn his own imposed penalties. But, Vilma’s lawsuit just got a little more viable.

  2. panamon says: Jun 15, 2012 5:13 PM

    Saints players think the NFL needs a video of them saying “THANK YOU FOR THIS MONEY FOR INJURING ALL THOSE PLAYERS” to prove it.

  3. goodellgate says: Jun 15, 2012 5:14 PM

    Roger Goodell*

  4. howiefeltersnatch says: Jun 15, 2012 5:15 PM

    The late Friday afternoon news dump. I thought only our loser President did stuff like this.

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 15, 2012 5:16 PM

    “On Fujita, on Vilma, on Hargrove and Smith..
    Now bash away, bash away, now bash away all…”

  6. nispikers says: Jun 15, 2012 5:18 PM

    And by that last statemet “Commissioner Roger Goodell will simply give the players the opportunity to explain their side of he story” does that mean that our players have absolutely no chance against Goodell?
    The manifesto by Pamphilon was dated May 31st, long after Goodell punished the players. The Shanle interview was long after Goodell punished the players.
    “The league also produced footage from the 2009 NFC title game, with emphasis on a legal hit applied to Vikings quarterback Brett Favre followed by a player being heard asking for his “money”.” What exactly does this prove? And were any of the suspended players the source of that question?
    Still too many questions, and not nearly enough answers.
    O.K. when is the media going to admit that they were wrong in jumping on this Saints hatred bandwagon and believing everything that the NFL and Goodell said about the Saints? Who’s going to the be the first to admit that the NFL is wrong in pursuing these harse punishments against players? O.K. there was a pay-for-performance which is against the salary cap rules. But does that REALLY necessitate a year long suspension????

  7. txxxchief says: Jun 15, 2012 5:19 PM

    This is a private diciplinary hearing. There are no rules of evidence and there is no judge to hold anyone in contempt for not producing requested documantation. PFT want to pretend this is a court proceeding when they obviously know it is not.

  8. saintsfan26 says: Jun 15, 2012 5:20 PM

    Haters*

  9. shzastl says: Jun 15, 2012 5:44 PM

    Did the players produce any documents that they intend to use at the hearing to prove their innocence?

  10. cwmorga says: Jun 15, 2012 5:48 PM

    @Mike Florio

    Initial scrutiny of the information reveals evidence of salary cap violations
    ————————–

    The NFL already said there was no club money used, so there was no salary cap violation.

    It’s becoming obvious that instead of taking the easy road and punishing Saints players and coaches for a pay-for-performance program and possible cap violations, Goodell saw an opportunity to take a home run swing and prove his concern for player safety (driven to do so by a class action lawsuit against the NFL) by making this a pay-for-injury program, and based it all on locker room rah-rah speeches and emails that could easily be taken out of context (once again, Ornstein was broke and in jail!).

    Unfortunately for the Saints and for the NFL (and fans, if you care about the integrity of the league’s highest authority), Goodell might well get away with it unless this goes to the courtroom.

  11. daybreaker2 says: Jun 15, 2012 5:48 PM

    @txxxchief: “This is a private diciplinary hearing. There are no rules of evidence”

    Wrong.

    The new CBA requires any evidence used to determine a ruling to be given to players no later than 3 days away from an appeal.

    Not surprising tons of people still have an inaccurate and incomplete view of this whole thing. Many are still stuck on “GOODELL SAID IT AND ESPN AGREED, SO ITS TRUE”.

  12. realdealsteel says: Jun 15, 2012 5:50 PM

    SeenThisB4 says:
    Jun 15, 2012 5:10 PM
    Seems like it’s all circumstanial evidence….not surprising. A house of cards. But, Goodell’s not going to overturn his own imposed penalties. But, Vilma’s lawsuit just got a little more viable.

    ————————————————

    Exactly! There is no “on the field” evidence of any bounties. If Vilma stays the course, he will win his lawsuit.

    Goodall and his “Hitler” tactics (methods) are out of control.

  13. brady100 says: Jun 15, 2012 5:56 PM

    If they were Senators, they wouldn’t even bother to read it…

  14. nard100 says: Jun 15, 2012 6:04 PM

    Sigh. Saints fans, please don’t fall for an obvious attempt by the media (Mikey the Crusader Florio in this case) to get more fodder from the NFL. He doesn’t care who wins or loses in this, he only wants schmutz to print during the doldrums of football reporting. It’s really kinda disappointing because you are being used to further his agenda. For instance, he knows full well the issue has nothing to do with actual injuries or “cartoffs”. So why does he keep harping on it? If you think I’m crazy, just wait to see how much coverage this story gets when training camp begins. You won’t read zip about it because Mike knows know one will care then.

  15. daveman8403 says: Jun 15, 2012 6:05 PM

    hzastl says:
    Jun 15, 2012 5:44 PM
    Did the players produce any documents that they intend to use at the hearing to prove their innocence?

    —————————————————————————————————————

    What, documents that prove they didn’t do something? it is almost impossible to prove a negative.

    here is a task for you. provide documented proof that you never murdered someone.

  16. mdd913 says: Jun 15, 2012 6:11 PM

    Vindication.

    We Saints fans tried to tell you, all of you. Becoming more and more evident this whole thing is a sham.

  17. dadindebt6 says: Jun 15, 2012 6:20 PM

    Goodell can discipline members of the league simply for the appearance of impropriety. It comes from his duty to defend the NFL. There does not have to be an actual crime or rules violation. If there is bad publicity associated with something, Goodell has the right to discipline the ‘offenders.’ Remember, Roethlisberger had no arrest and no charges, but he had a horrible public image. Pac Man Jones did not have any convictions, just a lot of arrests and the resulting bad press. These Saints players and coaches have admitted that there was ‘pay for performance.’ That is a rule violation and by itself is justification for the punishments. The fact that Godell may have embellished that into a bounty is only relevent in the defamation trial. It means nothing as far as the acutal discipline is concerned.

  18. daybreaker2 says: Jun 15, 2012 6:32 PM

    @nard100: “For instance, he knows full well the issue has nothing to do with actual injuries or “cartoffs”. So why does he keep harping on it?”

    ———–

    Wrong, the issue *is* about injuries. If it was just a regular pay for performance plan, Payton would not have been suspended for a year for “lying about ending the bounty program”, and the defensive players would not have been suspended. The players were solely suspended for participating in a program that actively tried to injure other players.

    There would have only been monetary fines and maybe the loss of the 2nd rd draft pick for salary cap violations. Pay for performance bonuses are a very minor rule violation.

    So it *IS* all about the injuries. Why else would this have been so important? Do you think suspensions and media furor would have been as high if it was just “They got paid $100 for an INT”? Of course not.

    Its ALWAYS been about the money for injuries.

    Which Goodell has yet to prove EVER happened.

  19. jakek2 says: Jun 15, 2012 6:33 PM

    After all is said and done, I hope the court holds Goodell personally liable to pay all of these suspended coaches and players every cent they would have made if they weren’t suspended as well as consequential damages for lost opportunities. Only in Yemen could you be punished as severely as these guys (yeah…you can chop my hand off for $7M….I’ll live on a beach with a hook!) without breaking any written rule, much less a law.

  20. randolph32 says: Jun 15, 2012 7:44 PM

    So, is he bringing the info on Greg Williams who ADMITTED what was going on? Why no one thinks about this is beyond me, he’s an EYE WITNESS folks.

    Another 82% NOLA thread…there should be a separate section for these so they can go directly there….

  21. carlsbadboltfan says: Jun 15, 2012 8:17 PM

    mdd913 says: Jun 15, 2012 6:11 PM

    Vindication.

    We Saints fans tried to tell you, all of you. Becoming more and more evident this whole thing is a sham.

    ———————————————————————————-

    Sham? If it was a “sham” then why did Williams and Payton cop to it?

    Get real. Suck it up & deal with it. The punishments aren’t going to change.

  22. cootschaos says: Jun 15, 2012 8:25 PM

    I’ve just noticed that when you post a message that questions Mike Florio’s reporting, it gets deleted from this site…. It has happened to me 3 times now.

    Lets see how long this post stays up.

  23. geauxsaintsforever says: Jun 15, 2012 8:36 PM

    Funny how as we get closer and closer to vindication, the # of comments on here decreases significantly…..Where did all those over-reacting, fire and brimstone commentors go?

    By the way, can someone please tell me again why Sean Payton is suspended for an entire season? That just looks more and more ridiculous by the day. What Goodell is doing is 100 times worse.

  24. calv23 says: Jun 15, 2012 8:38 PM

    Goodell = Kenesaw Molehill Landis

  25. iberiasaint says: Jun 15, 2012 9:05 PM

    You have got to be kidding me!! Still waiting for “pay for injury/cartoffs evidence if there is any. Everything is on tape, I am sure that the NFL can prove these damming alligations. If the released evidence is what caused coaches and players to be suspended then those suspensions should be overturned and APPROPRIATE discipline should be administered. Further, Goddell should be fired by team owners.

  26. CJ says: Jun 15, 2012 10:03 PM

    this has kangaroo court written all over it.

  27. larryjames836 says: Jun 15, 2012 10:39 PM

    We all knows Roger Goodell is the NFL commissioner but just because he’s in that position does not mean he can do things illegal. What goes for the coaches, players, general managers, also goes for the NFL commissioners before you jury anyone you must have solid evidences. Evidences that are going to line-up with what you are talking about THANK GOD for the lawyers. All you foolish thinking people’s out there that think Roger Goodell suppose to be judge, jury, and hangman, when you get in trouble just give your case to the judge and tell him to work at out. When you knows you are innocent what you going to do leave it up to the judge and you have a murder case someone said you did and you don’t need a lawyer. Everybody need a lawyer to defend you if not you will be charge with something you didn’t do.

  28. palinforpresidentofnorthkorea says: Jun 15, 2012 10:40 PM

    So the NFLPA can’t find the evidence in the docs released to them.

    Maybe they can look in the CBA where they got pancaked as a result of not finding the terms they now are aware of.

  29. sportsmeccabi says: Jun 15, 2012 10:44 PM

    If they would’ve produced all of those pages, the players would play the old congress card: “too long; didn’t read.”

  30. silentcount says: Jun 15, 2012 10:48 PM

    For the ones who were so quick to believe Goodell’s accusations as fact — what have you learned?

  31. saints4evah says: Jun 15, 2012 10:53 PM

    Like i have been saying…just a stupid witch hunt. GODell handled this whole thing like an amateur from start to finish.
    50,000 pages of hard evidence he said….and this…

    Goodell*
    Future National Enquirer GM.
    I hope this is the end of him before he goes after another team for something as ridiculous.
    This is football…they ALL get paid to hit each other. Goodell never played sports or he would have known that.
    So can we have our season back soon?

  32. procre8te says: Jun 15, 2012 10:54 PM

    cwmorga says:
    Jun 15, 2012 5:48 PM
    @Mike Florio

    Initial scrutiny of the information reveals evidence of salary cap violations
    ————————–

    The NFL already said there was no club money used, so there was no salary cap violation.

    Yea well that didn’t stop The Fuhrer Goodell from punishing the skins’ and boy’s for breaking the “spirit” of a non existent rule either.

  33. drunkwino says: Jun 15, 2012 10:58 PM

    NFaiL

  34. mitchdms says: Jun 15, 2012 11:52 PM

    So, is he bringing the info on Greg Williams who ADMITTED what was going on? Why no one thinks about this is beyond me, he’s an EYE WITNESS folks.
    _______________

    Not sure why this needs to be clarified again, but Gregg Williams admitted, like many players, to a pay for performance program only. Against the rules, but a fraction of what the NFL is claiming.

  35. mrlaloosh says: Jun 16, 2012 12:12 AM

    Hey GODell! Ya Momma!

  36. leo133074 says: Jun 16, 2012 12:23 AM

    199 pages isn’t enough evidence for you baffoons?

  37. sdisme says: Jun 16, 2012 12:24 AM

    If the evidence is really as bad as the NFLPA says it is, this could lead to a strike if the Nfl proceeds with suspensions.

  38. larryjames836 says: Jun 16, 2012 5:55 AM

    Before the NFL go into a strike the owners will fire Goodell before this happen. Before all of this start going to crazy the owners will step in and it out because the owners is the NFL.

  39. robf2010 says: Jun 16, 2012 10:05 AM

    “199 pages isn’t enough evidence for you baffoons?”

    I’d settle for one page of evidence. As soon as the NFL produces one, this will all go away.

    If this scandal is remembered in a few years, it will be remembered as league scandal, not a Saints scandal.

  40. gatorjason says: Jun 17, 2012 7:28 AM

    Spanish Inquisition
    Salem Witch Trials
    McCarthy Hearings
    Goodell Bountygate

    When people in power pashionately defend the security, sanctity or integrity of an institution but have no checks to offset their power, then individual freedoms and liberties are kicked to the curb.

    Roger’s in a tough spot. The Saints organization was clearly out of control but the sanctions imposed on players without sufficient evidence will blow up in his face. His actions should have stopped with draft picks, fines and coaching suspensions. Players will police themselves and bounties will go away once team mangement is put in check. Crushing the little guys is overkill.

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