One of the most important persons in the bounty scandal hasn’t been accused of doing anything. Yet.
Cut by the Vikings the same day the NFL announced the punishments of the various non-players in the bounty scandal and re-signed by the Saints five days after the league announced the player suspensions, defensive tackle Remi Ayodele widely is believed in league circles as being the person who says “give me my money” on the notorious sideline video from the 2009 NFC title game.
It’s Ayodele whose head and torso block Anthony Hargrove’s mouth and head after Hargrove says “Bobby” in a sing-song way, as if to say, “Bobbbby, you’re the guy who broke the leg of the old man who plays quarterback for the other team.” When the words “give me my money” come out, neither Hargrove’s mouth nor anyone else’s can be seen. But it’s Ayodele, not Hargrove, who hit Brett Favre high as Bobby McCray hit Favre low, making Ayodele the more of the two to be demanding his money, if “give me my money” is evidence of a bounty of Favre.
Regardless of who said it, Ayodele’s silence is becoming more and more conspicuous. His agent, Jordan Woy, has not responded to an email asking whether Ayodele is willing to talk about the situation. Regardless of whether Ayodele talks before training camp, he’ll find himself in a swarm of microphones once he shows up for preseason practices.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Ayodele already is hearing from current and former teammates who want him to take responsibility for the words, especially since the league’s contention that Hargrove said “give me my money” seems to be the only evidence the league has to prove that Hargrove lied to investigators in 2010.
Coming clean wouldn’t come without risk for Ayodele. If he says that he said “give me my money,” Ayodele could face a suspension of his own.
Then again, if he doesn’t, Ayodele could face plenty of heat in the locker room.
In the end, it may not matter. The league has dug in its heels so tightly on its position that Hargrove said “give me my money” that the league may not change its tune, even if Ayodele publicly claims responsibility for the four words.
Either way, Ayodele has said nothing. Eventually, he’ll have to say something. What he says could go a long way toward exonerating Hargrove.