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Cerullo suddenly becomes key player in bounty case

After weeks of having his name on the fringes of the Saints bounty investigation, linebacker Jonathan Vilma has yanked former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo into the middle of the radar screen.

Cerullo, according to Vilma, blew the whistle on the situation.  Cerullo, according to Vilma, is lying.  Cerullo, according to Vilma, simply wants revenge against the Saints for firing him after the 2009 season.

Cerullo, according to Vilma, specifically wants revenge against interim head coach Joe Vitt.  And Cerullo, according to Vilma, created the notes that reflected the alleged contributions to the Brett Favre bounty.  And those notes show a $5,000 contribution from Joe Vitt.  And the NFL never accused or suspected Vitt of making any contribution to any bounty pool.

So what does it all mean to the bounty case?  I tried to make sense of it during Monday’s PFT Live.

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31 Responses to “Cerullo suddenly becomes key player in bounty case”
  1. minnysoda says: Jul 2, 2012 4:15 PM

    Well if your going to do something Vile Illegal and scummy make sure you don’t fire somebody that knows about it.
    My employer did alot of illegal things kept a son-in-law that does nothing except to produce 1 good sperm to get the daughter preganant.
    They let me go and I turned them in for every violation they committed

  2. eagleswin says: Jul 2, 2012 4:27 PM

    Vilma hasn’t “outted” anyone. Vilma is throwing as much dung against the wall as he can and hoping something sticks and this site is furthering the agenda. There are XFiles plots more plausible.

    Nuisance suit.

    It’s lawsuits like this that got Vilma’s lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, fined nearly $400k and and suspended for 5 years.

    Per Ginsberg’s appeal of the fine and suspension :

    In affirming Briskman’s decision, the appeals panel found that Ginsberg’s conduct was “egregious” and included overzealous litigation tactics and factual inaccuracies. The panel also found that he demonstrated disrespectful behavior and bad faith.

    Now, keeping in mind, that Ginsberg has been convicted of being unethical and making up facts to support his case. Doesn’t that seem likely, PFT reporting notwithstanding, to be the case here? Is anyone surprised at Vilma’s choice of lawyers?

  3. gumerk says: Jul 2, 2012 4:31 PM

    Thank you for bringing so much of this so called bounty scandal to light. No one, and I mean no one has pursued this with as much fervor and latched on with the jaws of truth seeking that you have Florio.

    If this whole thing was left unquestioned and unchecked it would have opened up a broad highway of power corrupted, putting other franchises, players, families, and fans at risk to being taken advantage of and a theme of keeping them in the dark when they should have rights to the truth of any allegations just like the Saints should.

    Whether you’re a Saints fan or not, you have to be able to see that the way the nfl has handled this whole situation is incompetent and could be done to any team, player, or coach out there.

    The powers that enforce and are at the top of a cba must be held to a standard and not allowed to manipulate or undermine it.

  4. geauxjay says: Jul 2, 2012 4:34 PM

    Nice closing statements, Mike. You’re right. The only people sick of hearing about it are the people who have already decided the Saints are guilty and are realizing now with every passing day that Roger Goodell is full of it.

  5. silentcount says: Jul 2, 2012 4:35 PM

    Joe Vitt, Sean Payton, Greg Williams and other Saints players says Vilma never put up money in a bounty system. Vilma has denied it from day one. But yet, Goodell takes this disgruntled fired guys word? Perhaps, Brees was right and Goodell was indeed only looking for something to justify is predetermined goal. Throw the whole thing out and put in a new commissioner who’s not trying to advance a hidden agenda.

  6. rickyck45 says: Jul 2, 2012 4:38 PM

    Vilma is trying everything he can to prevent this suspension from happening and he wants the “whistle blower” to be known to everyone. Do you honestly think Goodell wants to ruin a storied franchise like the Saints. What does Goodell have to gain by this? The saints brought a lot to the NFL when they won the Superbowl. Wouldn’t it be a lot easier just to have kept this on the down low instead of bringing it to the public? If it’s all a lie, then why isn’t Sean Payton involved in any of this law suit stuff?

  7. vtopa says: Jul 2, 2012 4:42 PM

    Sorry Uncle Rodger…looks like your bogus attempt to look like you care about player safety before the big lawsuit is unravelling before your eyes! This Cerullo is a dirt-bag. There is no TRAIl of cash. There is only an overhyped tape of Gregg Williams saying obnoxious things that all coaches say before a game, and the word of this disgruntled snitch. Saints are going to be a tough team to deal with this season. They have the biggest chip on their shoulder of any team in NFL history.

  8. sfsaintsfan says: Jul 2, 2012 4:45 PM

    Great job Mike. Keep at it.

    Something (just about everything) does not add up with the NFL’s allegations, especially the transcribed handwritten notes of Mike Cerullo. They look to be something he “created” after the fact. If so, when does Sean Payton get re-instated?

  9. cssaint78 says: Jul 2, 2012 4:52 PM

    I’m glad someone in the media as actually paying attention to how terrible this “case” is against the Saints. It’s falling apart around the NFL, and I’m sure they hope it never makes it to a real court because it will not hold up. Keep up the good work.

  10. mvp43 says: Jul 2, 2012 4:53 PM

    I always viewed the Saints organization as very well run and sort of the model of how an NFL team should be managed along with teams like Green Bay & Pittsburgh. This whole bounty case and the Vicodin scandle has really changed my view.

  11. cssaint78 says: Jul 2, 2012 4:53 PM

    And before someone says it: the coaches NEVER admitted to a bounty system, they admitted to a pay-for-performance system that included payments on LEGAL hits, not premeditated hits designed to cause injury.

  12. sandviktus says: Jul 2, 2012 4:56 PM

    Maybe Cerullo should now go and file a defamation of character and libel suit against Vilma for publicly accusing him of lying??

  13. geauxjay says: Jul 2, 2012 5:04 PM

    Roger Goodell’s New Orleans Saints Bounty Hunting Investigation*

    Forget Drew Brees. AMERICA needs an explanation.

  14. tigerfaninva says: Jul 2, 2012 5:04 PM

    First time ever posting….just want to say thanks Mike for not allowing the NFL to push you around by threatening access to privileged information as Cole and Schefter have been. They will not call the NFL into question for fear of loosing access.

    This could very well cost Goodell his job as he has shown he in incompetent as a supreme power source in charge in a multi-billion business.

    I for one hope this goes to the courts and Vilma calls Payton, Williams, and Cerullo to testify. The exposure of the NFL forcing Saints coaches to be quiet or else they get suspended more will spell bye bye to the dictator that is ruining the NFL.

  15. clickablecontent says: Jul 2, 2012 5:09 PM

    “The powers that enforce and are at the top of a cba must be held to a standard and not allowed to manipulate or undermine it.”

    Then the NFLPA should be held to the agreement they signed, don’t you think?

  16. tdk24 says: Jul 2, 2012 5:14 PM

    “minnysoda says:
    Jul 2, 2012 4:15 PM
    Well if your going to do something Vile Illegal and scummy make sure you don’t fire somebody that knows about it.
    My employer did alot of illegal things kept a son-in-law that does nothing except to produce 1 good sperm to get the daughter preganant.
    They let me go and I turned them in for every violation they committed”

    Then you’re a double DB.
    1- you should have turned them in in the first place.
    2- you waited til you got let go, then reported them.

  17. geauxsaintsforever says: Jul 2, 2012 5:15 PM

    If I were an owner of another NFL team, I’d be asking for a vote of no-confidence to oust Goodell tomorrow. I’d be worried that if someone in my organization just looked at him the wrong way he might just start throwing random suspensions out there (I’m sure Redskins and Cowboys would agree).

    And yes, we owe a great deal of gratitude to Mr. Florio for not just buying all this NFL-speak like the rest of the media (and lots of commentors) has so far. Who Dat!

  18. northeastkiller says: Jul 2, 2012 5:21 PM

    Again with the “Why would Roger Goodell throw one of the NFL’s franchises under the bus? What reason could he possibly have?” nonsense.

    It’s simple.

    Goodell has HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF REASONS in the worst case scenario in the concussion lawsuits. The Saints are a “storied franchise” all of a sudden? Yeah, like the Cubs are a “storied franchise” in MLB, “storied” for losing and losing and losing in increasingly embarrassing ways, lol.

    Sacrifice one team that only recently was any good to save his league an absolute fortune? That’s PLENTY of good reason for Goodell to run his, as Drew Brees called it, “investigation with a predetermined outcome.”

    Hell, remember the first round of “ledger evidence?” The three games? The payments that didn’t correspond to injuries, the “correction” of Buffalo to Carolina that didn’t make sense either, the NFL just took Cerullo’s ledger and didn’t even TRY to compare to it to the actual games. Seriously. They blatantly didn’t even check if the numbers held up at all, they just took it as scripture and pushed it on outlets that need access.

    “Predetermined outcome?” You better believe it. And for damn good reason – money. To save the NFL what could be a STAGGERING verdict if the league doesn’t have a scalp to wave over their heads to show how much they really do care about player safety, scout’s honor. It’s staring everyone right in the face and I applaud Florio for being at times the lone voice of reason on this issue.

  19. chatham10 says: Jul 2, 2012 5:21 PM

    Is this true about Cerullo? Nobody knows and sure Vilma does not know. These guys have lied so much that they now believe it. The lawyers are moving ahead along with their checkbooks., the money Vilma will lose during this one year suspension will be pocket change when he is done paying his lawyers.

  20. ascensionparish says: Jul 2, 2012 5:33 PM

    rickyck45 says:Jul 2, 2012 4:38 PM

    Do you honestly think Goodell wants to ruin a storied franchise like the Saints. What does Goodell have to gain by this?
    ———————————–

    Just by asking this question, i’m guessing that you’re unaware of the over 2200 former players that are suing the NFL.

  21. gumerk says: Jul 2, 2012 5:41 PM

    “Then the NFLPA should be held to the agreement they signed, don’t you think?”

    Sure, unless the other collective party that bargained with them attempts to manipulate or undermine it.

    Then it’s time for fact finding and shining a big ole bright light on the allegations.

  22. commandercornpone says: Jul 2, 2012 7:39 PM

    if the bills arent marked, hard to track cash.

  23. mwindle1973 says: Jul 2, 2012 8:58 PM

    I’m wondering if Goodell is obligated to rule on Vilma’s appeal since they choose not to participate in the proceedings. Remember they raised the objection over the meeting time not being 72 hours after they received the NFL’s evidence. Goodell postponed until afternoon when it would be 72 hours. Vilma choose not to return. I’m wondering by leaving the proceedings and not showing back up for the hearing hasn’t he by virtue forfeited his right to an appeal. I mean he filed one had it recognized and then showed up with a procedural objection. Goodell ruled they were correct postpone the meeting. By Vilma not returning to meeting and not providing just cause, doesn’t he forfeit his right to the appeal? Could we see a case where Goodell rules on the other 3’s appeals. And just releases a statement explaining that there was not a valid appeal exercised by the Vilma.

  24. silentcount says: Jul 2, 2012 8:59 PM

    It’s so sad that Saints haters are still clinging to their lynch mob mentality. Desperately trying to find fault with any info that may show that Vilma and others didn’t really deserve the severe punishments. It’s looking like Goodell is the one who should just shut up and take his punishment from a higher authority.

  25. bigball1 says: Jul 2, 2012 9:56 PM

    Is this just becoming the most ridiculous soap opera ever? Goodell finds there is a P-F-P program created by a coach on the Saints, penalizes the coach along with others in management rolls. Now he goes after the players. Never really having evidence on any particular player or players but decides to chose certain players, I suppose due to leadership roles on the team and one because of a video with a tell tell audio. Never really knowing if the players he chose have ever really been involved or if they participated in the program. There is no real proof because they say they did not donate any funds, there is NO record of funds actually changing hands, the note that list the players with dollar amounts next to their names is provided by a fired coach with a vendetta and cross to burn and his note has obvious (Vitt) errors which are admitted to. The video/audio is proven to not include the voice of the guy suspended, all the suspended players are not taking this well, one is filing lawsuits like they are preprinted, another with a good case that he was chosen because he caused the NFL grief during the lockout with safety issues, reporters grading the appeal evidence with all F’s and 1 B, a suspended coach that formally was known for over talking now suddenly has become a mute, everybody wants evidence that does not exist and they want a ruling on the appeal so they can file another lawsuit.
    I’ve got jokers to the right, fools to the left and I’m stuck in the middle with a big ol mess….
    And when I’m done with this I have 1,000 head related lawsuit heading right at me. Being the Comish is not as fun as it looks!

  26. tombrookshire says: Jul 2, 2012 10:23 PM

    I wonder if most fans feel like me. I could care less about bounties, steroids or HGH. It is irrelevant to the game and my enjoyment of it. I don’t care who put a bounty on whom or who gets bigger or badder taking steroids. Doesn’t affect me one bit and I wish people would stop talking about investigations and suspensions and who started it all.

  27. tebowsafraud says: Jul 2, 2012 10:39 PM

    silentcount says:
    Jul 2, 2012 4:35 PM
    Joe Vitt, Sean Payton, Greg Williams and other Saints players says Vilma never put up money in a bounty system.

    ==============

    Where’s William’s quoted saying that? Where’s Payton quoted saying that?

    Sorry—we have to call BS on your post.

  28. marat28051988 says: Jul 3, 2012 12:50 AM

    in normal system of the right there is “An innocence prezumtsiya” why Vilma should prove the innocence? start up Goodell it proves and it can’t make it. he spoke that Vilma gave 10000 dollars? the proof in studio… but why that while nobody saw them

  29. wiley16350 says: Jul 3, 2012 8:40 AM

    Roger Goodell would have to be awfully foolish to believe that coming down hard on the Saints NOW would have any bearing on the concussion lawsuit coming from players that played long BEFORE he was the commissioner. I find that hard to believe, so I am going to say that those people who attest to that are just desperate to find a motivation for Goodell to come after the Saints. But I guess I can’t absolutely rule out that Goodell is that foolish. I’d also like to add that it doesn’t matter whether the Saints were intentionally trying to injure players or celebrating injuries by paying for injuries. Both are against the rules. I also believe that it is more correct to say that the Saints were only paying for injuries and not intentionally injuring players. I don’t think they were playing outside of the rules on the field. In my mind it doesn’t change how good of a team they were/ are nor does it change the way I feel about their superbowl victory. But I do feel they broke off the field rules and were wrong to be paying for injuries. I have not formed an opinion on whether or not Vilma, Fujita or Smith are guilty of what they have been accused of or not. I believe the evidence I have seen on Hargrove is enough to at least prove that he lied to Goodell about his knowledge of the pay for whatever program. I believe that the NFL does have eye witnesses as part of their evidence against the Saints and it may be possible that those people (or person) lied and that could be the death of the NFL’s case. But right now, the most logical conclusion is that the NFL came after the Saints because they honestly believe that the Saints’ coaches and players were paying players whenever an opposing player was injured. The evidence is there. The only question is, was the evidence tampered with and/or was the NFL lied to by someone with a vandetta against the Saints.

  30. minnysoda says: Jul 3, 2012 11:27 AM

    You ain’ts fans a really funny. You SB win is a fraud and you know it. The players involved are lucky that criminal charges weren’t brought up in every away game they played. We know they would never be arrested in New Orleans the most corrupt political system in the United States Hey what happen to all the levy money oh yea alot was spent on “other things”

    The Vikings should have won that game injuries are part of the game but a bounty is not anyone who supports it are scum bags and Vilma is a jerk that should be suspended indefinitely

  31. hughrenassle says: Jul 3, 2012 12:46 PM

    Why don’t we stick to questions that we KNOW?—like, “Does Cerullo really really like cheeseburgers and fries?”

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