Every time the NFL releases its characterization of evidence regarding the bounty case against the Saints, questions about the credibility of the characterization instantly arise.
The biggest glitch has come in connection with Monday’s claim in a presentation to 12 reporters that Saints assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt contributed $5,000 prior to the 2009 NFC title game. Though it’s unclear whether the league contends Vitt pledged money to a bounty on Brett Favre or whether Vitt simply added his cash to the broader pool of money, his lawyer has provided to PFT a very clear and unequivocal response.
“The NFL has never, in multiple written communications and in three face-to-face meetings, accused coach Vitt of putting money into the program,” David Cornwell told PFT by phone. Cornwell also said that, in one meeting with Vitt, NFL V.P. of Security Jeff Miller specifically said there was no suspicion or assertion that Vitt contributed to the pool.
It’s unclear why the NFL would now claim that Vitt contributed money, if he never was accused of doing so. Regardless, the assertion that Vitt gave money generally tends to make more credible the contention that the pay-for-performance program crossed the line into a full-blown bounty system.
Even if it didn’t.