Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt hadn’t previously responded to the allegation that he contributed $5,000 to the alleged bounty on Brett Favre because Vitt hadn’t previously been accused of it. Now that the league has lumped him in with players accused of funding the alleged bounty, Vitt has responded.
“In the recent information released by the NFL to the NFLPA, and later to the media, there is an allegation made against me that is completely untrue and I cannot let it go unchallenged,” Vitt said in a statement forwarded to PFT by Saints spokesman Greg Bensel. “I did not pledge any money for any type of incentive program pertaining to the 2010 NFC Championship game. Furthermore, I have never at any time pledged any money for any type of incentive program, or so-called ‘bounty’ program.”
Vitt is willing to do take extra steps to prove his innocence.
“Today I had a great conversation with the Commissioner and stated I would sign a sworn affidavit to this fact, or make myself available to take a lie detector, to immediately rectify this matter,” Vitt said. “Also it cannot be emphasized enough, none of our players, particularly those who are facing suspensions, ever crossed the white line with the intent to injure an opponent. I am proud of our players and stand behind them 100% and will do whatever I can to help restore their good names.
“I maintain my pledge to the Commissioner to be an agent of change in helping to find new ways and practices to make our game safer for all players and I look forward to more constructive conversations with the league on this matter.”
Regardless of whether the charges against the players are true, the handling of the accusations against Vitt are curious, to say the least. The league admits it never accused him of offering money to a bounty pool for discipline purposes, but now the league is using allegations against Vitt to bolster the evidence against the players.