The notorious Anthony Hargrove “Bobby, give me my money” sideline video from the 2009 NFC title game eventually could cause bigger problems for the NFL than simply undermining the overall potency of the bounty case.
The decision of the NFL to rely so heavily and publicly on a 10-second snippet of tape harvested by NFL Films has created concern in some league circles that the entire NFL Films vault will now be scrutinized by the lawyers suing the league for concussions incurred by former players.
It’s not an unreasonable concern. NFL Films uses cameras and microphones extensively during every regular-season and postseason game. Players and coaches routinely wear a wire, and NFL Films captures everything they say. Everything. As in every word, snort, cough, sneeze, and any other bodily sounds that are within range of the device.
Only a small fraction of it all is ever used. If the bulk of it is archived, the lawyers in the concussion cases will seek permission to review every second of the NFL Films footage for anything that could be used to prove the existence of a culture that encouraged players to return to action despite possibly being impaired by a head injury.
Given the stakes involved in the concussion litigation, expect the discovery process to include a request for the production of every piece of raw tape in the possession of NFL Films. And expect a team of lawyers and paralegals eventually to descend on the NFL Films headquarters to watch it all.
Though the lawyers likely would have thought of this approach even without the release of the Hargrove video, the release of the Hargrove video has convinced some that it’s only a matter of time before it happens.