Skip to content

League reiterates belief that bounty evidence is “overwhelming”

Jeff Pash, Greg Aiello AP

As Commissioner Roger Goodell continues to deliberate the final rulings in the bounty suspension appeals, the league over which he presides continues to declare the players’ guilt.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday, via the Associated Press, that the evidence is “overwhelming.”

“The investigation was thorough and includes statements from multiple sources with firsthand knowledge about the details of the program, corroborating documentation and other evidence,” Aiello said.  “The enforcement of the bounty rule is important to protect players that are put at risk by this kind of scheme.”

Aiello’s comments come on the same day that Saints quarterback Drew Brees is questioning via an all-day media blitz the quality of the league’s case, and four days after NFL general counsel Jeff Pash touted the “mosaic” of evidence that was presented during the June 18 appeal hearings.

“Certainly, Drew Brees would not want to be the target in a bounty scheme and that is why we must eliminate bounties from football,” Aiello said.

Given the league’s views, the appeals should have been denied by now.  As Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma said Monday, “What’s this guy waiting on?  Make your ruling so we can get on with phase 2 already.”

Also, the dueling soundbites from the league and Brees further illustrate that, ultimately, the bounty case has become an exercise in semantics.  No players were paid to injure other players.  Instead, the Saints created a system for financially rewarding players who in the normal course of delivering big, clean, legal hits rendered an opponent unable to play in all or part of the remainder of the game.  Though that’s one of the realities of a game in which success is premised partially on attrition, the league believes that creating that kind of incentive could lead to deliberate attempts to injure, whether through legal hits or through illegal hits.

The players believe the NFL has tried to suggest that the Saints were doing something far more sinister than the jobs they’re already paid to do (i.e., hit the other guy as hard as you can, cleanly and legally).  The NFL believes that, regardless of the language used to describe it, the concept of offering players money for rendering opponents unable to continue to play is inherently sinister, and thus unacceptable.

Regardless of how it all plays out, Aiello’s comments make clear that there’s no reason to further delay the rulings on the appeals.  Phase One clearly is over; it’s time to get on with Phase Two.

Permalink 41 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
41 Responses to “League reiterates belief that bounty evidence is “overwhelming””
  1. jacunn2000 says: Jun 26, 2012 5:07 PM

    In my opinion is is a privilege to play football for a living. When you cross certain boundaries and break the rules there are consequences in anything people do in life. When you get caught and act like a child and blame everyone but yourself is what makes this whole thing sickening.

  2. sf944 says: Jun 26, 2012 5:13 PM

    When asked about the Giants’ statements, league spokesman Greg Aiello said that whatever happened on the field in the NFC Championship game wasn’t a big deal. “Players are held accountable for their actions on the field,” Aiello stated via e-mail. “There were no illegal hits to the head or neck area against Kyle Williams on Sunday. There was no conduct by the Giants of any kind that would suggest an effort to injure Kyle Williams in any way.”

  3. jpmelon says: Jun 26, 2012 5:13 PM

    I hope they draw the appeals process out until the day before week 1’s kickoff.

    Hopefully it will force PFT to start writing about football rumors instead of legal proceedings.

    I understand that this is a big story, but it’s over….the only reason the legal proceedings (or Phase 2) should be mentioned is if they do in fact require the NFL to lift the suspensions until further notice. If that happens, one story/page will suffice….we don’t need 40 posts about the same thing.

  4. saintsfan26 says: Jun 26, 2012 5:14 PM

    Why is Jay Cutler in that pic?

  5. daybreaker2 says: Jun 26, 2012 5:14 PM

    “So you know the ledger showing ‘cart offs’ and ‘knock outs’ and games where there were no actual players carted off, or knocked out? That’s *totally* overwhelming evidence that you guys tried to injure people for three years. How can you not see that?

    And Anthony Hargrove had that letter! I mean, I know he doesnt admit to anything in it, but Mary Jo White *says* he confessed in the letter… Who are you going to believe? The actual letter that you can read with your own eyes, or Mary Jo White?

    ITS OVERWHELMING.

    WE SAY SO.”

  6. tulsacyfan says: Jun 26, 2012 5:15 PM

    Also overwhelming is King Goodell’s power and frequent use and abuse of it.

  7. njsteelersfan says: Jun 26, 2012 5:20 PM

    This morning Drew was on the NY News to bring support for his concussion tests for kids which is great . But they also asked him about the bounty and his face and movements was like a person that knew more then what he says But how can a person who supports a team that wants to make hits to cause things like this and then say to kids its a gad thing . Thats like the devil saying kids praise god but hang with me just wont work

  8. sdisme says: Jun 26, 2012 5:20 PM

    What happend to the league stating:

    “Payments also were made for plays on which opposing players were injured. In addition, specific players were sometimes targeted. The investigation showed bounties being placed on four quarterbacks of opposing teams – Brett Favre, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Kurt Warner.”

    or

    “Multiple sources have confirmed that several players pledged funds toward bounties on specific opposing players.”

    now it is just: “the Saints conducted a prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty program”

  9. mdd913 says: Jun 26, 2012 5:20 PM

    jacunn2000 says: Jun 26, 2012 5:07 PM

    In my opinion is is a privilege to play football for a living. When you cross certain boundaries and break the rules there are consequences in anything people do in life. When you get caught and act like a child and blame everyone but yourself is what makes this whole thing sickening.

    —————————————————————-

    It’s exactly this kind of intellectual laziness the NFL has depended on to further its ridiculous agenda. Please tell me you don’t intend to vote.

  10. ironhawk says: Jun 26, 2012 5:21 PM

    They are paying for injuries. If a “clean legal hit” injured a player, you got more money. That’s a bounty system and the people involved should never work in the NFL again.

  11. Deb says: Jun 26, 2012 5:28 PM

    The NFL believes that, regardless of the language used to describe it, the concept of offering players money for rendering opponents unable to continue to play is inherently sinister, and thus unacceptable.

    I concur–especially when you use money obtained from an outside felon to fund your bounty program. But what does this have to do with the players?

    The concept of offering the money is sinister. But unless you can prove–with game film–the players engaged in illegal hits, you have no case against them. You have a case against the coaches and GM who set up the bounties. And you might have a case against Vilma if you can prove he offered a bounty on Favre. But you have no case against the rest of the players unless you have film of them doing something illegal. And if you have that film–why weren’t they flagged and fined at the time?

  12. panamon says: Jun 26, 2012 5:30 PM

    Getting paid for a legal hit that knocks somebody out of the game is still pay-to-injure.

  13. pmd5319 says: Jun 26, 2012 5:45 PM

    Still doesn’t make sense to hurt somebody for a $2,000 reward, when you will get fined $25,000 by the NFL for an illegal hit. Last time I checked, $2,000 < $25,000. Hard to make a living when you're netting $-23,000. As for the "overwhelming evidence", if you have it, show it. If not, let's end this BS and find another way for the NFL to cover their butt for the law suit brewing.

  14. strokeytheclown says: Jun 26, 2012 6:58 PM

    I cannot wait for the season to begin, just like every year. However, this year will be different. I will more appreciative for the new season if only to finally hear about something other than the goddamn Saints! Please shut up!

  15. ravensrooster94 says: Jun 26, 2012 7:41 PM

    Lost in all the protestations from the Saints players is one undeniable fact: if the evidence against the players is so underwhelming, why did Sean Payton, Greg Williams and other coaches implicated, accept their suspensions after what was nothing more than a pro forma appeals peep?

  16. mrpowers88 says: Jun 26, 2012 7:45 PM

    Watch the 09 NFC Championship game.

    Anybody watching could tell the Saints were up to something with how many times they were hitting favre late. Be it Saints fans hoping he would get hurt and forced out, Vikings fans wondering where the flags were, or any football fan wondering what the refs were doing other than their jobs. It was mind-boggling how many roughing the passer/late hit penalties were not called. This only got worse by Williams calling them “Remember me” shots and saying the had to get some on Peyton Manning

  17. croghan1919 says: Jun 26, 2012 7:48 PM

    If I NEVER read the term bounty and NFL in the the same report again it will be to soon.

  18. treesloth16 says: Jun 26, 2012 8:06 PM

    Thanks Florio for changing your position entirely over the course of this charade. I believe you are the only one in the media to do so. Subsequently, I will continue reading your news, and prohibit myself from going to those other junky ‘journalist’ websites.

    e.g. Ashley Fox and Peter King, both hypocrites and Goodell slurpers.

  19. craigmaitland says: Jun 26, 2012 8:16 PM

    Why all of this commish hate? He’s the boss of a multi billion dollar business and all he asks of the guys is to be decent human beings. If any of us repeatedly lied to our bosses we’d be fired for life… Not just a couple week or in severe cases a yr. If any of us were charged with a federal offense we probably wouldn’t be allowed back at our jobs either. All he asks is that multi millionaires act like good people for not too long of a time in their life.

  20. jlb10 says: Jun 26, 2012 8:17 PM

    the evidence is sooo overwhelming that the nfl doesn’t want to show it to anyone for fear that it may cause fans to have nightmares

  21. derekjetersmansion says: Jun 26, 2012 8:25 PM

    The idea that the general football-viewing public would agree with Goodell is ludicrous. We watch football for the violence. The PR hit they’re taking was not thought of enough, thanks to guys like Florio.

    ————————————————–

    Also, it’s not being said enough, but this is the fabric of the NFL coming apart. In my mind, “pay-for-performance” is a huge part of this league, considering the contracts aren’t guaranteed. If the Saints’ suspensions are upheld, it could mean no food on the table for street guys and undrafted rookies. It builds a little togetherness.

    To get rid of this speeds along the robot-ization of this league. Higher-salaried guys will make more plays since they are being better compensated, etc.

    Again, the idea that this was slam dunk in Goodell’s eyes means he’s never been employed by an NFL team.

  22. dadsman28 says: Jun 26, 2012 8:55 PM

    The problem arises because rendering an illegal hit does not necessarily mean that the players will be held accountable on the field. The bounty program therefore creates a situation where players don’t feel the need to make clean, hard hits to render a player incapable of finishing the game.

    Case in point was the high/low shot by Bobby McRae and Remi Adolye on Brett Farve in the 2009 NFC Championship game. I believe that without the focus to injure that McRae would not necessarily have thought to go straight after Favre’s knees with a low hit once it was clear that Adolye had Favre wrapped up and going down. It is only a stroke of luck that Favre didn’t break his leg on that shot. Indeed the Saint’s sideline thought they had broken his leg and were in fact celebrating the injury.

    The fact that the hit was “clean” or “not called” does not make the practice of premeditated intent to injure any more acceptable. There is simply no place for this mindset or attitude in Football. Fans pay good money to see the best players play … they don’t need to pay good money to see those best players carted off the field on stretchers because some no name defensive linemen are being paid extra to hit them in such a way that is designed to break their legs.

  23. the1vito says: Jun 26, 2012 9:15 PM

    Maybe Pash is busy thinking about whether his client fees might end up going to his former, now bankrupt, firm.

  24. samapoc says: Jun 26, 2012 9:52 PM

    In other news, the NFL renamed the color red to blue.

  25. andrewfbrowne says: Jun 26, 2012 10:03 PM

    Getting paid for a legal hit that knocks somebody out of the game is still pay-to-injure.

    ____________________________________

    No matter how the Saints players and the union try to spin it, this is what happened.

    I would also take issue with the fact that all the hits were legal, I have Championship game against Favre DVR’d and watching it now knowing what I do, there were at least 6-10 hits that could not possibly be defined as legal. They just were not called. You drink and drive and do not get caught you still broke the law. They broke the rules and got caught. They lied about it and continued to do it after they were told not to.

  26. Deb says: Jun 26, 2012 10:22 PM

    Moderators, you have no legitimate reason for censoring that post. Do you ever feel a responsibility to just do your jobs?

  27. goodolebaghead says: Jun 26, 2012 10:25 PM

    Super ninja Goodell technique: Save all actual evidence until this story has played out in the public for as long as possible…hmn.

  28. zoidenflak says: Jun 26, 2012 10:41 PM

    i’m for anything that’ll just shut drew brees up!

  29. silentcount says: Jun 26, 2012 10:47 PM

    It’s simply amazing that so many people would want to see the players on their own teams suspended. Yes, every team had things like “player with the most tackles gets 100 bucks.” Brees is right when he says Goodell took pay for performance and called it a pay to injure system. Goodell could have accused any team in the NFL for that. There’s a reason why no defensive player on other teams has pointed a finger at the Saints. They know the same could be said of them.

  30. musicman495 says: Jun 26, 2012 11:14 PM

    croghan1919 says: Jun 26, 2012 7:48 PM

    If I NEVER read the term bounty and NFL in the the same report again it will be to soon.
    ————————–
    You and others with the same opinion are certainly welcome to stop reading and commenting on every bounty story about how much you are sick of reading bounty stories.

  31. musicman495 says: Jun 26, 2012 11:16 PM

    ravensrooster94 says: Jun 26, 2012 7:41 PM

    Lost in all the protestations from the Saints players is one undeniable fact: if the evidence against the players is so underwhelming, why did Sean Payton, Greg Williams and other coaches implicated, accept their suspensions after what was nothing more than a pro forma appeals peep?
    ————————–
    Uh, how about the fact that the one guy who decides if they ever earn a living in the NFL again is the guy dishing out the punishment and hearing the appeals. You really need someone to draw you a road map on that one?

  32. wunsa says: Jun 26, 2012 11:41 PM

    “Certainly, Drew Brees would not want to be the target in a bounty scheme and that is why we must eliminate bounties from football,” Aiello said.

    Sounds like the league is threatening Brees. Goodell and his stooges are out of control. Brees needs to sue over this…

  33. Deb says: Jun 26, 2012 11:45 PM

    panamon says:

    Getting paid for a legal hit that knocks somebody out of the game is still pay-to-injure.

    Hello … all players are paid for making legal hits that sometimes result in opponents being knocked out of the game. Those payments are called “paychecks.”

  34. zn0rseman says: Jun 27, 2012 12:05 AM

    “No players were paid to injure other players.  Instead, the Saints created a system for financially rewarding players who in the normal course of delivering big, clean, legal hits rendered an opponent unable to play in all or part of the remainder of the game.”
    ————–

    Translation: They were paying players bonuses to injure other players.

  35. thraiderskin says: Jun 27, 2012 1:12 AM

    At this point… the league should just put up or shut up. Initially they had the upper hand, at this point I don’t know how anyone’s faith in the evidence hasn’t been shaken. If the players want this all to be public, then why not release everything to the public. I still believe the bounty system took place, but why does it seem so shady on the NFL’s side?

  36. vader7176 says: Jun 27, 2012 1:21 AM

    Just throwing this out….What if the reason the NFL needs to keep some evidence out of view is because some evidence is from player who have testified and given evidence and they don’t spend want to open them to the crap that Warren Sapp opened Jeremy Shockey to.

  37. biz275 says: Jun 27, 2012 1:56 AM

    Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. The problem is the word “bounty”. A bounty guarantees a specific person being targeted and injured. Pay for performance is incentive driven. It’s like when you’re a kid and your parents tell you, hey you get straight A’s on your report card and I’ll give you this or that or x amount of dollars. That’s pay for performance. You’ll go out of your way to get straight A’s. That’s what the Saints were doing. There’s nothing wrong with that. And the money that’s being used to fund it is from their pockets! Once they get paid that money, you can do what the hell you want with it. It’s yours! Everyone is so touchy. People need to blame others in order to make themselves feel better. Believe it or not, all teams do this! Don’t act like your teams don’t do this! All you posters on here who bash the Saints for doing this, I guarantee you that if you were offered these earnings to go lay someone out with a legal hit for extra cash, you’d do it. No questions asked. It’s not cheating. It’s motivating you to play better. It’s not meant to hurt people. College football does the same thing. Boosters pay players for performance too but do we hear you talking about that??? Nope. Give these players a break!

  38. whodatgirl1 says: Jun 27, 2012 2:06 AM

    “…also on the ledger contained entries in which players were fined for lining-up in the wrong position, for penalties, as well as for illegal hits…”

    IF you don’t like reading “bounty” stories, then don’t read “bounty” stories. I have high doubts that anyone has a gun pointed to your head.

  39. drdrumlord says: Jun 27, 2012 2:28 AM

    Forget bountygate. Whats going on with spygate #2?

  40. Deb says: Jun 27, 2012 12:31 PM

    mrpowers88 says:

    Watch the 09 NFC Championship game.

    Anybody watching could tell the Saints were up to something with how many times they were hitting favre late. Be it Saints fans hoping he would get hurt and forced out, Vikings fans wondering where the flags were, or any football fan wondering what the refs were doing other than their jobs. It was mind-boggling how many roughing the passer/late hit penalties were not called.
    ————————————————

    Yes, and that’s the big unanswered question in all this. At a time when players were being flagged and fined for sneezing in the QB’s direction … why did all those late hits go unnoticed both during and after the game? I’m not suggesting any kind of collusion. But it’s hypocritical for Goodell to suddenly want the heads of the Saints players when his officiating crews stood back and did nothing at the time.

  41. saintsguy says: Jun 28, 2012 8:43 AM

    On March 2nd a Former Redskins player, Matt Bowen, said that Gregg Williams ran the exact same bounty in Washington. That player went ON the public record, his story was corroborated by a current Skins coach, a former skins coach, and two current players, all of whom remained anonymous. The NFL did nothing for two whole days and then late on March 4th (a Sunday) the NFL announced that they would also investigate the Redskins. On the morning of March 5th the league said that they had concluded their investigation and that the Skins were cleared of wrongdoing.

    On March 4th Corey Wire, a former Bills player said Williams did the same thing when he was in Buffalo, including paying players for delivering knockouts. Two current players, who remained anonymous, corroborated that story. The NFL NEVER even launched an investigation into the Bills allegations.

    Cris Carter said he instituted a bounty program in Minnesota and specifically said he made Bill Romanowski a target of the bounty.
    Trevor Pryce (who only retired at the start of 2011 season) said that the bounty program was alive and well EVERYWHERE he’d played… that means the Broncos, the Ravens, and the Jets all had bounty programs. Bart Scott corroborated that the Jets had a bounty program.
    Tank Daniels gave an interview that this happened as the “norm” in the league and that it happened on every team he was with… that means the Eagles, Giants, and the Jaguars all had bounty programs.
    Damien Woody said that this happened all around the league… that means it must have been on the teams he played with, that Pats, Lions, and the Jets. That’s interesting… he’s the third Jets player to come out publicly and say that bounty programs are normal.
    Mike Golic admitted that the Eagles had a bounty system when he was a player, that was a defensive unit overseen by Wade Phillips who is a current coordinator for the Texans.
    Darren Woodson admitted that the Cowboys ran a bounty program that paid EXTRA for injuries up until the time he left the team in 2003 and that defensive unit was overseen by Zimmer the coordinator for the Bengals.

    Jim Schwartz admitted to offering “rewards” for big hits.

    Rex Ryan wrote in his book about “dotting” opposing players. To quote his book ““Each game we might also designate an opposing player with a dot. Players don’t want to be dotted by the New York Jets, because that means we want that dude knocked out of the game.”

    So let’s see that’s players going ON THE RECORD about:
    The Bills, the Redskins, Broncos, the Ravens, the Jets, the Eagles, the Giants, the Jaguars, the Pats, the Lions, and the Cowboys.

    That’s 11 of the league’s 32 teams (not counting the Saints).

    And several media sources are now also saying there’s evidence that the Titans AND the Ravens may have been operating bounty programs as well. That would make 14 out of 32 teams!

    And yet… the Redskins were investigated for less than a 24 hour period, and other than the Saints they are the ONLY program to get formally investigated?

    Players connected to 10 other teams went on record saying that those teams had bounties… where is the investigation on ANY of those teams?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!