We’re currently plowing through the evidence the NFL presented to the players involved in the Saints bounty case, and much of it is inspirational material or game-plan specific. Much of it is, frankly, meaningless.
But there are several pieces of information among the 16 exhibits presented that could easily be considered damning.
Again, this is after a quick read, and we’re going to get deeper into it later in the day. (Florio promises.)
But among the slides the league presented, three pieces in particular stand out.
As part of Exhibit 5, the league handed over a slide which shows a series of payments made to players which could reasonably be considered a simple “pay for performance” system. Those included “whacks,” “sack” and “impact play.”
But the first entry on that sheet reads: “Harper = Cart-off 1000.”
That could reasonably be read as paying safety Roman Harper for knocking a player out of the game.
Exhibit 9 includes the “Dog the Bounty Hunter” photo we referred to earlier. That slide includes “Now its time to do our job…collect bounty$$$!” along with “No apologies! Let’s go Hunting!”
Even the NFLPA concedes that image was “a poorly chosen and ironic example to use.”
Exhibit 10 might be the the closest thing to a smoking gun among the nearly 200 pages presented, showing a ledger from the “Minny game” which shows Jonathan Vilma and Charles Grant apparently collecting $10,000 each, and assistant head coach Joe Vitt apparently contributing $5,000 to the “QB out pool.”
That last one is a transcribed handwritten note, and the NFLPA has taken issue with some of the evidence, including who transcribed notes such as that one, where they were obtained or whether players had seen them.
Again, this is an early look. Stay tuned for more throughout the day.