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Goodell defends protecting confidential witnesses

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[Editor’s note:  The eight-page, single-spaced letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell affirming the suspensions of the four players accused of involvement in the Saints’ bounty program raises several intriguing points, arguments, and circumstances.  We’re breaking them up into separate posts, in the hopes no one takes out a bounty on me.]

Like many other investigations, the Saints bounty investigation received a significant boost from the assistance of one or more people who provided information on a confidential basis.  Unlikely many other investigations, the NFL has allowed those persons to remain confidential, even though one or more eventually became key sources of information on which important conclusions were based.

In the bounty case, the whistleblower didn’t simply provide the spark that resurrected a cold case and enabled the league to obtain confessions from the coaches who were involved.  Instead, the whistleblower ultimately provided information on which the league relied extensively in concluding that players who denied any involvement in a bounty program were guilty.

The league maintained the secrecy of the whistleblower throughout the appeal process, and Commissioner Roger Goodell defended this approach in the July 3 letter upholding the suspensions imposed against four players, arguing that “there should be no issue” regarding the NFL’s reliance on confidential sources.

“Affording confidentiality to players or others seeking to remain anonymous in these and similar circumstances — and securing their candid assessment of the issues, free from peer pressure and other impediments — serves the interests of maintaining the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football,” Goodell wrote.  “Failure to provide such confidentiality would discourage future potential whistleblowers from coming forward.”

That’s not entirely accurate (though it’s ironic given that the league-owned network encouraged Warren Sapp to speculate on the air that former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey was the “snitch”).  Whistleblowers who become witnesses are entitled to protection against retaliation; they’re not entitled to a lifetime of secrecy.  Affording permanent anonymity to whistleblowers who never face accountability for their words can actually undermine the “integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football” by creating an opportunity to tell lies that ultimately go untested, because the persons about whom the confidential witness is lying will never even know who it is who has made the false allegations.

If the league hopes to promote the “integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football,” the processes employed for publicly stigmatizing players and stripping them of significant chunks of their livelihood must include basic safeguards to ensure that the league is relying on information that is truthful, accurate, and untainted by bias or improper motives.  It’s impossible to know how much of the information provided by the confidential witness(es) in this case are truthful, accurate, and untainted by bias or improper motives because we don’t even know who they are.

The better approach would be to rely on anonymous tips to initiate the investigation and to guide it in the right direction.  Any evidence that provides the basis for discipline against players or non-players should come from persons who are willing to attach their names to the allegations, so that any players or non-players who dispute those claims will know who and what they are confronting.

If the anonymous tipster isn’t willing to step out of the shadows, even when given assurances that the league will react swiftly and aggressively if the whistleblower-turned-witness experiences retaliation, that should be a red flag regarding the overall reliability of the information that has been provided while tucked safely behind the proverbial curtain of a third-world courtroom.

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57 Responses to “Goodell defends protecting confidential witnesses”
  1. mrbigass says: Jul 6, 2012 7:26 PM

    Mike, if you were just some ex-football player runnin’ this site and not a lawyer you’d be screwed.

    Who knew that havin’ a law degree was a requirement to report on NFL football……

  2. thcnote says: Jul 6, 2012 7:35 PM

    In the bounty case, the whistleblower didn’t simply provide the spark that resurrected a cold case and enabled the league to obtain confessions from the coaches who were involved. 
    ———
    What, a Saints fan told me that no coaches confessed.

  3. hbegley6672 says: Jul 6, 2012 7:38 PM

    Mike, please name 1 large corporation that doesn’t have an anonymous hotline that is promoted for employees to provide information against employee wrong doing and that also guarantees anonymity. Many will not come forward at all if they are not guaranteed anonymity. Does the NFL do anything right in your eyes?

  4. goodellgate says: Jul 6, 2012 7:40 PM

    Why didn’ Goodell give that same confidentiality to Hargrove ?? He could have said we have a declaration by an anonymous ex-player that says that there were a pay-to-injure program and that he was part of it ?? But no, he had to put his name out there. So Why ?? Maybe because we were then able to discover that it was a big lie (with the assisantance of their independant* prosecutor) and that they don’t want this to happen again.

  5. Mike Florio says: Jul 6, 2012 7:42 PM

    It’s one thing to provide the tip, it’s another to become the star witness. You can’t be the star witness and hide in the shadows.

  6. gtodriver says: Jul 6, 2012 7:53 PM

    Mike Florio says:

    “It’s one thing to provide the tip, it’s another to become the star witness. You can’t be the star witness and hide in the shadows.”

    The NFL doesn’t have a witness protection program like the federal government where confidential informants are given a new identity and relocated.

    The Saints (coaches and players) promoted a bounty program with the stated purpose to injure players of opposing teams.

    It’s not much of a stretch that people that are so inclined would attempt to seriously injure or maim a confidential informant.

  7. jonesjack says: Jul 6, 2012 7:56 PM

    The PA agreed to this arrangement in the last two CBA’s, which is mystifying. Conviction by anonymous testimony cuts against everything we do here. But they agreed to it. Twice.

    Unreal.

  8. kylerichards76 says: Jul 6, 2012 7:58 PM

    JFC, Saints fans..

    1.) the NFL is a business a Goodell doesn’t have to play by the same rules as the government when it comes to identifying witnesses.

    2.) Payton and Williams sung like canaries so they could one day get back in the NFL and their stories colaborated the evidence that was already there.

    3.) if everybody was so innocent, why didn’t they testify and why did they refuse to meet with Goodell.

  9. Mike Florio says: Jul 6, 2012 8:00 PM

    Plenty of people testify in open court in serious cases against intimidating people without witness protection.

  10. kylerichards76 says: Jul 6, 2012 8:01 PM

    Florio.. I agree with you but its not a matter of 1 star witness. I suspect there are several and the evidence is overwhelming. Goodell is protecting the integrity to be a whistle blower and tell the truth without consequences.

  11. 32bigg says: Jul 6, 2012 8:03 PM

    The opinion expressed in this post continues to presume that the exact same standards that would apply in a court of law should apply in this situation.

    It could be argued that through collective bargaining, this is not the case.

    I would be interested in a post concerning specifically why the same standards should apply.

  12. kylerichards76 says: Jul 6, 2012 8:03 PM

    Also, you’re forgetting this isn’t a criminal or civil suit (yet!) so the rights granted by the government don’t apply.

    I’d feel more sympathy for the Saints players if they attempted to defend themselves.

  13. geauxjay says: Jul 6, 2012 8:11 PM

    The problem here is that Goodell appears to be using “witnesses” the same way journalists use “sources.” Maybe they’re real. Maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re telling you what you want to hear. Maybe they’re using you to promote their own selfish agenda.

    The players deserve to know.

    And Saints fans know that this is not the same as the American legal system. But shame on you for acting it’s right for a business to act like a bunch of Nazis just because “they have the right to do that.” I hope for your sake that you never get accused of things you didn’t do by a selfish, corrupt boss. It’s not fun.

  14. savannahrose44 says: Jul 6, 2012 8:13 PM

    Mike Florio says:
    Jul 6, 2012 8:00 PM
    Plenty of people testify in open court in serious cases against intimidating people without witness protection.

    That doesn’t mean they were not given the option. If those who came forward with the information wish to remain anonymous that is their choice.

  15. tmar1961 says: Jul 6, 2012 8:15 PM

    The major thing is that Goodell wants to lump in pay-for-performance and injury bounties into the same lot, MAJOR difference. the pfp is and always will be a part of the NFL. Separate the two and this mess goodell created isnt a mess at all but a clearly defined issue.

  16. mrpilsner says: Jul 6, 2012 8:16 PM

    IF the Commissioner really is an advocate of an eighteen game season then this offseason is a huge argument for that expansion!

    Are we ready for football?

    Are we exhausted reading about another League member cheating, for which the the Commissioner has discharged his duties?

    An eighteen game schedule would have all of us reading and writing about football practice instead of grinding axes for or against the cheaters. Or taking pot shots at a Commissioner doing his job.

    NFL Headquarters is NOT a court of law, is it, Florio? And we are, by and large, NOT jurists, but just a bunch of (REAL) football news starved fans, eagerly awaiting $8 beers and $7 hot dogs and scouring urinals for even more bizarre jetsam.

  17. kodakinvegas says: Jul 6, 2012 8:18 PM

    P.S. WHERE ARE THOSE 50,000 pages of investigative reports? Even if some names or personal data are blacked? The STUFF Reporters are SUPPOSED to be digging for……..

  18. kingpel says: Jul 6, 2012 8:19 PM

    We spend more time and money “protecting” guilty people in this country. It’s ridiculous.

  19. jsotis76 says: Jul 6, 2012 8:20 PM

    I heard the whistleblower is Rodney Goodell, Roger Goodell’s alter ego, who hangs out in biker bars and wears black leather jackets. He has an earring.

  20. geauxjay says: Jul 6, 2012 8:23 PM

    What, a Saints fan told me that no coaches confessed.

    ——————————
    The NFL wrote the confession and then said that they said it. Just like they did with Hargrove’s “confession.”

  21. gtodriver says: Jul 6, 2012 8:28 PM

    Mike

    Yes, some people do testify in open court against intimidating people without witness protection.

    But many don’t. Many are given witness protection in order to get them to testify.

    These players are not going to be to sent to jail or being sentenced to death. They are being suspended temporarily from playing a game.

    Let’s keep things in perspective.

  22. jason1980 says: Jul 6, 2012 8:31 PM

    Mike, you’re not dealing with rational thought processes here, these folks aren’t interested in fair play, they’re reveling in the potential downfall of a winning franchise. As a Saints fan, my interest is seeing that no other franchise has to go through this kind of hatchet job. The Saints will be fine, with or without Vilma and Smith. Many of the haters are forgetting that Saints were a smash mouth bunch last season, and only added more weapons this off season. We can’t wait for the season to start and give you haters another reason to hate us.

  23. packerfaninsandiego says: Jul 6, 2012 8:42 PM

    Can their be a recall to get rid of Goodell? I realize the owners are paying him, but this commisioner is a frickin joke

  24. moerawn says: Jul 6, 2012 8:50 PM

    Man what has happened to this sport? Is it football or Elliot Ness and Capone’s gang? These idiots are going to kill the golden goose.

  25. dfinpds says: Jul 6, 2012 8:54 PM

    I didn’t think it was possible for a bunch of lawyers to ruin a game of “Xs and Os”…….but apparently, there is nothing , including a GAME, that some high priced mouthpiece can’t litigate to death……No wonder our forefathers wanted to ban barristers from this country from the very beginning……geesh

  26. kidpresentable says: Jul 6, 2012 9:02 PM

    @Florio, the whistleblower doesn’t need witness protection to keep himself safe from a criminal who is heading to prison, the whistleblower here needs anonymity if he ever hopes to work in the league again. Teams won’t hire a guy who can’t keep company secrets in house. Ask Eric Mangini how that works out.

  27. Mike Florio says: Jul 6, 2012 9:10 PM

    Exactly. The players are only being suspended from their jobs. Which means it’s far less important to keep witnesses secret than in murder cases against drug gangs.

  28. geauxjay says: Jul 6, 2012 9:17 PM

    We spend more time and money “protecting” guilty people in this country. It’s ridiculous.
    ————————-

    That’s the cost of guaranteeing that innocent people don’t get convicted of crimes they didn’t commit.

    Sounds like you would be more comfortable living in Iran.

  29. kidpresentable says: Jul 6, 2012 9:31 PM

    @ Florio, the players are being suspended from their jobs, but they’ll have jobs when they get back. If a coach was a source, nobody will hire him again because he’ll be viewed as untrustable. He’s being protected to save his professional life. If a guy reports an activity that is against league rules and his identity is revealed making him unhireable, nobody will ever report these activities again. Nobody will help the league with future investigations. It’s in the league’s best interest to protect their sources as well.

  30. geauxjay says: Jul 6, 2012 9:33 PM

    Ask Eric Mangini how that works out.
    ————————————-
    The same guy who got TWO HEAD COACHING JOBS after leaving the Patriots and now has a cushy analyst job at ESPN?

    Really? That’s the best example you could find? Is Mary Jo White your legal advisor?

  31. calv23 says: Jul 6, 2012 9:35 PM

    Really scary how far some people will go in throwing away the basic human rights of their fellow citizens.

  32. silentcount says: Jul 6, 2012 9:38 PM

    Ones sees this whole thing one way if they assume the players are guilty. But, consider the possibility for a moment that they didn’t do what Goodell manipulated the public into believing as fact. In this system, they really have no chance to offer anything as a defense. Coaches are forbidden to speak who could back up their innocence. The one secret witness is most likely the disgruntled, vindictive fired coach. It’s a big deal if this whole thing is based on his word and it can be proven that he’s lying. There’s too much at stake for this not to go to a court.

  33. vikingamericann says: Jul 6, 2012 9:41 PM

    Whistleblower does not mean you are protected from your name being disclosed. It only means you are protected from revenge. Anonymous tips are on thing, but a full witness that provides substantial evidence should not expect his name to be kept secret. Like it or not the NFL is an entity within the USA and is subject to US law. Whistleblower information must be truthful for any protection to exist. Since we know the ledger was whistleblower provided, and not truthful we can do away with any protection that whistleblower thought he had. Roger is violating the whistleblower act by keeping his name from the players, and he is violating the CBA by not providing the players with the witnesses against him.

  34. vader7176 says: Jul 6, 2012 9:41 PM

    Mike Florio wrote: Exactly. The players are only being suspended from their jobs. Which means it’s far less important to keep witnesses secret than in murder cases against drug gangs.
    ____________________________

    Yes Mike you are right on but like Mike McCaskey and Dan Snyder found out it is like no other business. It requires hard work and struggle AND it’s entertainment. Football players have limited time to perform. Suspensions kill this. They are insecure and paranoid about being replaced by guys whose only attribute over them is that they are there. That’s why guys play injured they don’t want to be Wally Pipp or Don Majikowski. You darn right they’ ll retaliate– and in practice. Remember, these are the guys who had Bounties. Believe me.

  35. wcoastsaintsfan says: Jul 6, 2012 9:48 PM

    Whistleblowers are for making a wrong doing aware to someone who has the authority to stop it. However, it is NOT supposed to be used to form the foundation of the entire case against somebody.

    If a whistleblower leads investigators to material evidence that CAN be presented, then there is no need to expose them. This whistleblower clearly sucked at giving the investigators leads and therefor the league is trying to use the original statements of the whistleblower as evidence while keeping the anonymous.

    That shouldn’t fly.

  36. pftfanatic says: Jul 6, 2012 9:52 PM

    Suggested hotline number for anonymous tips: 1-800-NFL-NARK.

  37. thejuddstir says: Jul 6, 2012 9:54 PM

    “given assurances that the league will react swiftly and aggressively if the whistleblower-turned-witness experiences retaliation, “……..
    —————————————-
    Come on Mike, an “assurance” provides about as much protection as a “protection order”, one is simple words and the other is a worthless piece of paper. In theory you have an arguement , but….I would suggest asking Eric Mangini how it works in reality. If you really want to compare the bounty case which is governed by the CBA to a criminal case which is covered by law then it would require the NFL of have a Witness Protection Program. I’m surprised that as a lawyer that you continue to try and argue the case ……..in the wrong jurisdiction. The CBA is the venue of jurisdiction.

  38. kidpresentable says: Jul 6, 2012 9:56 PM

    @geauxjay, Mangini had one of those two head coaching jobs when he blew the whistle. He then got a second head coaching job which he failed at because making Mangini a head coach was promoting him beyond his ability. He’s not going to give away his own secrets as a head coach so you don’t have to worry about him there. Now, nobody will hire him as a head coach because he sucks, and nobody will hire him as an assistant because they don’t trust him. He snitched on the only guy who did.

  39. atwatercrushesokoye says: Jul 6, 2012 10:06 PM

    Basic human rights?! Wow! That is the ultimate in hyperbole! This is NOT a human rights case, these players aren’t being jailed or executed without prosecution, they broke the rules and have been suspended from their jobs, when they serve those suspensions they will be able to get their jobs back, either with their current teams or new ones.

    Also the players (and their union) had the chance to participate in the process and they elected not to, instead choosing to take this to court…which they wouldn’t be able to do if this was really a human rights violation.

    Some people really need to realize where all of this rates in the grand scheme of things!

  40. geauxjay says: Jul 6, 2012 10:41 PM

    I suspect there are several and the evidence is overwhelming.
    ———————-

    Tell me what specifically, based on what we know about the information leaked and shared by the NFL thus far (phony ledgers, the Hargrove video, forged and misrepresented confessions, and so on), would cause you to believe this.

    I’m guessing 97 percent of the reason behind your “suspicions” have something with the particular team you pull for. And in this case, whom you don’t pull for.

  41. FinFan68 says: Jul 6, 2012 10:42 PM

    Let’s try to apply a smidge of rationale speculation on the other side of the coin, Mike. You, among others, originally reported that between 22 and 27 players could be involved. Only 4 have been disciplined. It is entirely plausible that some were exonerated and some unnamed “whistleblowers” could actually be players that corroborated much of the “evidence” in question. Those players were likely promised leniency, anonymity or even immunity in order to get “the truth”. What would the league gain by outing several players that said that some of these things happened? The players would be ostracized in any locker room for the rest of their careers. There would be NO way for the league to expect any player to come forward in the future if they would knowingly be throwing away their careers. It would be prudent for Goodell to act the way he did under those circumstances. The league may have improperly weighted some of the publicized evidence in an effort to avoid disclosing these sources. I believe that is much more plausible than some of the conspiracy theories floating around on these boards. This is not a court of law where “beyond reasonable doubt” is the standard. IMHO, the rights of the guys that came forward with the truth about an improper program(s) deserve a tad bit more rights than the guys being punished in an internal employer/employee disciplinary dispute.

  42. crubenst says: Jul 6, 2012 10:56 PM

    Well maybe if the players would have met with Goodell, he would have given them the informants names and precisely what they said and maybe even the original notes. We’ll never know. Because the players didn’t have the guts to face Goodell without prior knowledge of the evidence so they could prepare alibis. When exactly was Goodell supposed to disclose who the “star witnesses” were? To the public? To the players’ lawyers? No. The players will get the info when they get the guts to face Goodell without “preparation.”

  43. cwwgk says: Jul 6, 2012 11:02 PM

    Interesting dialogue but more than likely now moot due to the players (in)actions. Judges don’t review transcripts of press conferences. They analyze the record of arbitration hearings. The players chose not to preserve the record with ANY of the alleged deficiencies with the league’s case or Goodell’s supposed lack of impartiality. Since the players’ complaints aren’t in the arbitration record, there’s not much for a judge to review. Cases dismissed.

    Spite is a horrible emotion upon which to plan and execute one’s legal strategy.

  44. samapoc says: Jul 6, 2012 11:35 PM

    Goodell is using “secret informants” to make claims that appear baseless, aside from testimonial evidence that is secret. Goodell is making claims in public, in the media. He has stepped all over Steve Gleason and Gleason’s heslth problems by making it a political controversy.

    It’s well known that the Saints have fired several disgruntled employees in the past four seasons. It’s well known that the employees have made numerous attempts at smear campaigns. It’s well known that the supposed evidence against the players is false. It’s well known that the players are filing their own suit against the nfl and cannot therefore meet with the commissioner. It’s well known that the players have denied receiving money, that other than Fijita and Shanle, they haven’t admitted to anything and have actually denied it.

    Taken together, this looks like a clear smear campaign and a total waste of everyone’s money and time. Even if there was a bounty program, no one was hurt. But people are being seriously injured by goodell’s handling of this case. It looks like wrongful injury–taking away the right to earn a living in a chosen profession. Sure the players can bag groceries and adjust lifestyle, but it is against American public policy to damage a person’s employment without just cause. You don’t need a law degree to see the wrongs here.

  45. regulator01 says: Jul 7, 2012 12:24 AM

    be responsible for whatever choice you make, choose to participate in a bounty program, then pay for it.the whole point that is missed here is the saints were warned numerous times to stop the bounty program, they decided to hide it. what job in this country can you ignore a direct order froma superior and expect to still have a job?

  46. drwbrsdmndsnxplntn says: Jul 7, 2012 12:46 AM

    Souix cheese remands a reservation!

  47. calv23 says: Jul 7, 2012 1:01 AM

    atwatercrushesokoye wrote:

    Basic human rights?! Wow! That is the ultimate in hyperbole! This is NOT a human rights case, these players aren’t being jailed or executed without prosecution, they broke the rules and have been suspended from their jobs, when they serve those suspensions they will be able to get their jobs back, either with their current teams or new ones.
    ———————————————-

    How do you know they’ll get their jobs back? That’s easy for you to say behind the comfort of your computer. NFL careers are very short. What about their reputations? Vilma particularly had a bright future as a broadcaster or coach. Yes, it was his “basic human right” to know what he was accused of, to be able to confront the evidence against him, to not be slandered for 4 months by Goodell and the press while he had to keep quiet, and to be able to speak out in his defense without the NFL twisting his words using it for further punishment (which they did many times along the way). I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that we all should have those basic rights to keep our jobs without reasonable cause for suspension & damaged reputations.

    Again, it’s easy to deal someone else’s life away, and alarming how quick people are to do it without any regard for what it would be like to happen to them.

  48. calv23 says: Jul 7, 2012 1:12 AM

    I wonder how some of these posters who want the Saints’ to “shut up and take their suspensions like men” would feel if someone from their office wrote a handwritten note that implied you were stealing from the company, and gave it to your boss? What if your boss had looked at it, used it to publicly humiliate you in company emails for four months before the appeal started, and your “appeal” did not give you a chance to see that note or even see what you were accused of–only the opportunity to say things that could be twisted to sound incriminating?

    Would they be quite so joyful about pointing out that this not a court of law and the stupid players should have gone on strike to wrestle long-held powers from the commish–as if this is a much better way of doing things?

  49. macbull says: Jul 7, 2012 6:18 AM

    Mike…the NFL’s use of information gained via “anonymous” sources is a double edged sword.

    Initially, many didn’t care where the Bountygate information came from or that there might be issues with the credibility of the NFL’s information used to “convict” those said to be involved.

    The NFL’s insistence on secrecy brings into question the credibility of the entire process. When the NFL began leaking selected information to the media, I began to question the strength of the NFL case against the players and coaches.

    Until the NFL comes clean and allows all the information and the sources of that information, to be viewed by the public, I cannot support the punishment handed out by the NFL.

  50. winner2277 says: Jul 7, 2012 6:44 AM

    hbegley6672 says: Jul 6, 2012 7:38 PM

    Mike, please name 1 large corporation that doesn’t have an anonymous hotline that is promoted for employees to provide information against employee wrong doing and that also guarantees anonymity.

    ____________________________________

    How about you naming one that does? I’ve worked for several and not one have I worked for works in this manner, NOT ONE. So, I will await your response, which we will never get. Any complaints about any team members/associates behavior or job performance were brought to that persons attention with the accuser’s name in full view and discussed. You are clueless to say other wise and have never worked for one.

  51. phillyfanmatt says: Jul 7, 2012 7:50 AM

    It well known the evidence is false? Why because the players said so. Come on that does not hold water. I am not saying its not false but that logic just doesn’t make sense because they have also not proven its false. And you don’t actually have to injure someone to have a bounty or pay for injury program in place. There just has to be an intent there. Think of it this way if someone comes in and beats you with a baseball bat trying to break your arm. But when they leave thinking they did and yet you just ended up with some bruises. Was the intent there to try to injure you? Yes it was. Did they fail at their attempt? Yes they did. So the end result does not always have to result in injury to prove that there may have been an intent is all.

  52. bushwoodcc says: Jul 7, 2012 8:13 AM

    @samapoc…so back in March when Peyton and Loomis issued a statement saying that the violations the NFL accused them of happened, and they happened under their watch was that also part of the smear campaign?

    Payton, Loomis issue joint statement

    Posted by Mike Florio on March 6, 2012, 5:24 PM EDT

    [Editor’s note: Saints coach Sean Payton and Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis have issued a joint statement regarding the bounty system that the Saints utilized from 2009 through 2011. The full text of the statement appears below.]

    We acknowledge that the violations disclosed by the NFL during their investigation of our club happened under our watch. We take full responsibility.

    The reality is that the NFL has not released all the evidence. And they won’t. At least not to the public. But the 4 suspended players and their attny’s refused to participate in the appeal seesion. Perhaps because they know the potentially has evidence to refute any lies they want to present in their defense. So you try and get the league to lay out every piece of evidence first. The problem is that this is not a court case. It is a process governed by the CBA. It’s funny that you want to call out the NFL’s “wrongs” but fail to recognize that the players have tried to subvert the process all the way from investigation through appeal. I have done investigations into employee violations of policy and conduct. You only present what you need to to enact discipline. If an employee presents information in an appeal or to deny the claim you can then introduce evidence to refute (i.e. prove that they are lying to you) that was not already introduced or shown to them. It’s how you catch people in lies about their involvement in breaking rules or policy. It’s also most likely why none of these 4 players said anything at the appeal. But Florio won’t tell you this in his musings because it won’t generate enough hits or comments if he posts that.

  53. majbobby says: Jul 7, 2012 8:21 AM

    Again I will say it like in every one of these “stories”. The process was collectively bargained. The players signed off on said process. They don’t deserve anything but that process.

    How would you feel if the owners started making lawsuits against players to get money back or have more otas or more contact in practice?

  54. insider7 says: Jul 7, 2012 9:28 AM

    Mike, you know it as well as anybody that there is a balancing of interests that has to be done in order to conduct meaningful internal investigations into serious problems that threaten the integrity of the game.

    The right to confront one’s accuser need not be assured, particularly when it would result in killing virtually all future investigations that rely on insider information. As long as the anonymous whistleblower’s information is independently corroborated, then there is no problem in using this vital insider information.

    And you are naive in the extreme if you think that any organization can effectively protect whistleblowers when their indentities are known. Once exposed, people will find a way to retaliate against them, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly.

  55. Mike Florio says: Jul 7, 2012 9:37 AM

    That’s part of the risk you take when doing the right thing. And doing the right thing in this context, where someone’s reputation and income hinges on the outcome, is to stand up and say what happened, not hide behind a curtain. If the NFL believes that it can’t ensure civility and order when someone does the right thing, perhaps that’s even more troubling than the alleged existence of a bounty program.

  56. mwindle1973 says: Jul 7, 2012 11:49 AM

    kylerichards76 says: Jul 6, 2012 7:58 PM

    JFC, Saints fans..

    1.) the NFL is a business a Goodell doesn’t have to play by the same rules as the government when it comes to identifying witnesses.

    2.) Payton and Williams sung like canaries so they could one day get back in the NFL and their stories colaborated the evidence that was already there.

    3.) if everybody was so innocent, why didn’t they testify and why did they refuse to meet with Goodell.

    ——————————-

    #2 being the key point. #3 being hard to deny, and #1 is just plain common sense. I understand that not everyone is educated about such matters as #1, but then why go spouting off about it? Also who are the 91 people who don’t understand what you are trying to say…or am I just to assume they get it but disliked your comment anyway?

  57. mrpowers88 says: Jul 7, 2012 5:09 PM

    Ornstein met with Goodell, was found to have said something that incriminated the Saints, and recanted shortly thereafter.

    Cerullo-the original whistleblower-started this whole thing, and when he was outed, Vilma and his lawyer claim he has recanted.

    Hargrove SIGNED A DECLARATION IN THAT HE ACKNOWLEDGED HE WAS IN THE WRONG and when that was used against him, he suddenly decided that it was not true.

    So lets out the rest of the witnesses who are still working in football in some capacity (and presumably want to keep working in football in some capacity) and see what side they err on, because im sure once everyone knows who they are, theyll sing the same tune…

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