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NFL gives players a chance to file written memos in bounty case

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The players accused of participating in the Saints’ bounty program chose to say nothing to the NFL on Monday.  The league has given them some more time to say something, if they so choose.

A transcript of Monday afternoon’s media session indicates that the league has provided the suspended players “several days” to file a written memo “to address the merits or substance of the evidence and the disciplinary action.”

NFL general counsel Jeff Pash said the written submission is optional.  “We don’t know if they will do so or not,” Pash said, “but we will hold the record open and the Commissioner will be happy to receive any paper they want to supply.”

Pash also said that Commissioner Roger Goodell “would be prepared to receive” reports from any investigations conducted by the NFLPA or the lawyers representing the four players who have been suspended:  Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove.

Of course, “receiving” the information and genuinely considering it are two different propositions, and it’s likely that the NFLPA and the players won’t be submitting anything because they believe it won’t do anything to change the NFL’s mind, and that it only will be used against the players in the looming stew of litigation related to the suspensions.

And so look for the players to submit nothing that goes to the substance of the case, and for Goodell to uphold the suspensions at some point thereafter (probably next week), explaining that the players have given him no evidence or argument that would justify changing his mind.

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16 Responses to “NFL gives players a chance to file written memos in bounty case”
  1. bigjdve says: Jun 19, 2012 10:04 AM

    How would you know whether or not Goodell would consider the written memos or not unless you tried.

    If Goodell actually feels that the evidence he has is lacking, those memos could give him a way to reduce the suspensions and save some face.

    However the players are trying to be difficult, and that will only hurt themselves. They approved the current appeals system. I have seen people state that in the CBA it states fair treatment, well the NFL giving them even more time to try and submit a defense seems fair to me.

    The 4 players have spent all of this time posturing but not really doing anything to defend themselves. I wonder why?

    If they were really innocent, wouldn’t they be trying to prove how and why that they were?

  2. stew48 says: Jun 19, 2012 10:05 AM

    Finally, a crack in the armor. It is now time for the league, the players union and all of the accused players and/or their attorneys to meet quietly and agree on a procedure that will reflect a process more in tune with actual justice based on better procedure(s).

  3. thcnote says: Jun 19, 2012 10:12 AM

    This will just show how stupid the union is. If the players would have gone in and talked to Goodell in the first place there suspensions wouldn’t have been so long. We all know there was a bounty program. There has been one every place Williams coached, his X players have admitted it. If these 4 would have just said there was one but they never tried to hurt anyone on the field and only used it for motivation then they would have only gotten a small suspension. Lying and playing dumb is going to get them nothing. DOWN WITH THE UNION!

  4. captatl says: Jun 19, 2012 10:26 AM

    Vilma and his cronnies spoke of “exculpatory” evidence yesterday, that the league did not present. They said they knew the league had it. Well, that is strange? They know the league has it, yet the job of a defense attorney is to gather evidence that favors their client. So if the league was able to obtain this, seems the defense could have too, and since the hearing was a platform for the defense to present evidence on the behalf of their clients, why did they not? Because there is NOTHING they can produce. Every ounce points to the league be justified in the punishment. They can not rebute any of the evidence. They lost and looked bad in doing so. Ginsberg, should be fired by Vilma. Vilma should be smart enough to see that this clown is a waste of his money.

  5. nypd1056 says: Jun 19, 2012 10:28 AM

    “Of course, “receiving” the information and genuinely considering it are two different propositions, and it’s likely that the NFLPA and the players won’t be submitting anything because they believe it won’t do anything to change the NFL’s mind, and that it only will be used against the players in the looming stew of litigation related to the suspensions.”

    If your INNOCENT, and telling the TRUTH, then you have nothing to FEAR by submitting a written statement in your defense.

  6. halbert53 says: Jun 19, 2012 10:30 AM

    Not defending the Saints players, but this process is akin to a prosecuting attorney serving as judge and jury for a case where he has conducted an investigation trying to prove their guilt. At very least, this should be heard by an administrative law judge with no connection to NFL or the union.

  7. txxxchief says: Jun 19, 2012 10:32 AM

    I feel like I’ve been beaten like one of the Bataan death march victims from having to read all of these legal stories. Drew Brees thinks the comparison is spot on.

  8. marat28051988 says: Jun 19, 2012 10:34 AM

    fans Falcons, Bucs, Panters demand explanations a ha ha ha

  9. greymares says: Jun 19, 2012 10:38 AM

    Please, please more bounty coverage i cant get enough. GIVE ME MORE ,GIVE ME MORE !!!!!

  10. marat28051988 says: Jun 19, 2012 10:42 AM

    Goodell the liar and the deceiver hooted. Only this time in the lie it got confused. And fans of bucs, panthers and falcons only also need to pray on the stupid QB as their dreams broke. It is direct it is a pity them
    very strange why other fans don’t criticize league for lies? I remember here everything as women cried: saints liars also should be punished” and now the lIES league and all says lies why that are silent?
    As speak at us in Russia it is possible to trust only to God well still to Valera Karpin but not Goodell

  11. thejuddstir says: Jun 19, 2012 11:02 AM

    Why isn’t it obvious to even the most die-hard Stains’ fans that the players have had ample opportunity to present evidence of their supposed innocence but have chosen instead to play to the media and public with innuendo, word games, sympathy. They chose to not attend the original hearings, to not offer any evidence during the appeals hearing and are now anticipated to ignore the opportunity to present written evidence. The players use lawyer technicalities to explain written evidence, taped evidence and witness evidence by claiming it “was taken out of context”, “show us one player who was maimed for life”, “it wasn’t a bounty system but a ‘pay for performance system’, yada yada yada……you can put all the lipstick on a pig that you want but it’s still a pig.

  12. saints97 says: Jun 19, 2012 11:16 AM

    How does one provide evidence of innocence? What evidence might that be?

    In a criminal trial, pretty much the only evidence the defense can show is an alibi. Do you guys think they are going to show that they weren’t at the games and the practices?

    I’m okay with the punishments, but I do find it odd that the NFL would feel the need to bury needles in haystacks if they actually have good evidence.

    And for the idiots in other threads that say the NFL isn’t releasing the evidence in order to protect itself from concussion lawsuit – all of that stuff is discoverable, whether it has been made public or not. If you are suggesting that by not producing it now, they can destroy it later, then you are suggesting that the NFL would engage in criminal behavior (obstruction of justice) to cover its own rear end – and you have now put yourself in bed with the players, who are making a very similar accusation.

  13. bigjdve says: Jun 19, 2012 11:31 AM

    For all of those people talking about how the process is unfair. It might be, however it is the agreed upon process by the NFL and the NFLPA. Get over it!

    For those people saying that the CBA says fair treatment. The players have been given multiple times to present their case BUT have chosen not to. They just scream unfair. They aren’t even giving the process to be fair, that is their bad. Get over it.

    For those of you complaining about Due Process, if a defendant doesn’t show up to the hearing(s), they get the book thrown at them. If they don’t defend themselves, the only conclusion can be guilt.

    The players started out saying, “They don’t have anything on me!”, not I am innocent. After the suspensions, they have been screaming “The process is unfair!”, not I am innocent. Finally after some time, their lawyers got them to say that they haven’t done anything, however even now they are saying “The league didn’t show us anything”, and they still aren’t showing how they are innocent.

    You can say you are innocent until the cows come home but unless you can prove it, you are guilty. The time for innocent until proven guilty was before the suspension, not after. Now is the time to prove your innocence.

    You said it was a Kangaroo court trying you, in order to suspend you. You didn’t show up to contest the charges. That is your fault. With no one to fight your argument, there is only 1 conclusion.

    At this point, Goodell doesn’t have to show you evidence, you lost that opportunity. You don’t have the right to complain about the evidence he did show you as you forfeited that right but not showing to the trial. Now the burden is on you, not him.

    That is how the court system works. You go on trial, you lose then you appeal. At that point you have to prove how the prosecution is wrong, they don’t have to prove anything to you, they just have to rebut you.

    Is the system flawed. probably. However it is what it is because the PA chose someone who was in over his head to run the negotiations.

    Has the NFL handled this poorly? Probably, however they have used the process in which was agreed. Unfortunately, we as the public have our own expectations, right or wrong, as to what should happen. However, we don’t set the rules, the PA and the league do.

    Does the evidence prove guilt, maybe or maybe not, either way it doesn’t matter as the players have continually chosen to not defend themselves. They have continued to posture while Goodell has continued to act.

    They have no-one to blame but themselves.

  14. CKL says: Jun 19, 2012 11:41 AM

    So the players didn’t want to meet with him before, Vilma lawyered up and is pursuing a defamation suit, they don’t want to participate in the process now due to possible use in legal proceedings (Vilma’s?), and they’re saying it’s unfair? And that it “won’t change minds” (how do they know? Maybe their “evidence” isn’t that compelling either?) so WAHHHH we’ll just take our ball and go to court instead? No, unfair would be if you DID participate in the process that both sides agreed to and you then experienced unfairness by Goodell. Not if you refuse to participate at all.

  15. prrbrr says: Jun 19, 2012 1:19 PM

    Players don’t like their own personal contract, they hold out. Players don’t like a commissioner they gave ultimate powers too they B n Moan. Players and coaches commit the ultimate sin, they don’t want to participate. They moan about a 72hr window for evidence, the Commish holds off for a few hrs and the lead allegedly guilty party walks out???

    I think the NFL would love to have this tried in a court of law. Vilma and crew should hang their heads in shame.

  16. saints97 says: Jun 19, 2012 1:48 PM

    What “evidence” would they have, CKL? The only thing a defendant can do in a situation where he is being accused is attack the accuser’s evidence. How can you attack your accuser’s evidence if they are only giving you 0.4% of it?

    Look, I am a Saints fan. Pretty tough to hide that. But I also think they are probably guilty. I just wonder why the league can’t show the evidence. I have little doubt that they have evidence, but it sure seems shady when you only fork over 200 pages out of 50,000, and within those 200 pages only a few are relevant.

    What the Saints are really guilty of is lying to the league and not knocking off the shenanigans when the league told them to. Now they have to pay the piper. But the league made a mistake when they decided to label their crimes in a way that was a P.R. stunt to make it look like they are doing this for player safety. They’ve painted themselves into a corner here, I suspect.

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