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Goodell stands firm on “pay-to-injure” language

Roger Goodell AP

Not that anyone expected him to change his mind, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was firm Saturday, insisting the Saints operated a pay-to-injure program.

Goodell spoke to a small group of reporters including Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune while at a Pee Wee football event in Akron, and said the evidence he gathered made it clear there was a bounty system and a clear plan to cover it up.

“Well, the No. 1 thing is when you reward players for injuring other opponents, that’s a bounty,” Goodell said. “That’s not pay for performance, that’s a bounty. And that’s what the players and, I believe, [Saints linebackers] Coach [Joe] Vitt said occurred. And that’s what our evidence indicates. So when you’re doing that, anything that would target or reward people for injuring other players, that’s not part of football. “That’s not what we’re teaching these kids, and it’s not what we’re going to do in the NFL.”

Goodell denied that the Saints and the league are involved in a stand-off that comes down to definitions, saying that terms such as “cart-offs” and “whacks” are clear.

“That’s not semantics,” Goodell said. “They understand the rules. When you reward somebody for injuring somebody — and the only way you cart off somebody is when they’re injured. So that’s an injury. So when you do that, that’s not semantics.”

“We also have evidence that players were targeted, as we’ve indicated to you all and told you.”

Goodell said the league also has more evidence than has been shared with the media so far, and that the Saints could have mitigated some of the damage if they have cooperated with the initial investigation after the 2009 season.

“Sure, the fact that they said it didn’t happen and they continued to do it is certainly a big issue,” Goodell said.

Goodell’s in Ohio for today’s Hall of Fame ceremony, and said he had no plans to meet with Saints players or coaches prior to tomorrow’s Hall of Fame Game, since he’s leaving town tonight.

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31 Responses to “Goodell stands firm on “pay-to-injure” language”
  1. greatminnesotasportsmind says: Aug 4, 2012 1:30 PM

    He should have come down harder on everyone involved. Goodell if you want to pretend to rule with an iron fist, then grow a pair.

  2. gbmickey says: Aug 4, 2012 1:46 PM

    Is it just me or is everyone else sick of hearing about this. Yeah it was news for a while but this constant barrage is tiresome. Like this article for example. Did anyone really think Goodell was not going to stand firm on this?

  3. blackninja504 says: Aug 4, 2012 1:57 PM

    So why are they asking Vilma to drop the defamation lawsuit if he is so confident? He has to stick with this facade now since he put it in the public before it needed to be. Oh well the Saints will be fine. But if Vilma does win his suit, how will Goodell act then?

  4. rhodeislandpatriotsfan says: Aug 4, 2012 1:57 PM

    Roger Goodell is correct in that from a definitional standpoint, any “pay-for-performance” program that includes rewards (i.e., cash or other valuable incentives/consideration) for “knockouts” or “cart-offs,” terms which necessarily imply injury, IS a “bounty” program. The NFL has no practical alternative but to adopt a zero tolerance policy here. This is about more than player safety. It’s also about legal liability. Not that the players would ever consider suing the NFL.

  5. pauliepennino says: Aug 4, 2012 2:20 PM

    Saints won’t be fine. Joe Vitt is no Sean Payton and the OL will play POORLY compared to last year. Drewboy will be running for his life and, as you saw last year, when that happens, he turns into Heath Shuler.

  6. kaferwerks says: Aug 4, 2012 2:20 PM

    Goodell is seriously looking more and more dumb as the days go on. His story keeps changing. A month ago or so he said they released all evidence in the hearing. When questioned about all 16000 pages of evidence Friday morning on NFL AM he replied with “16000 documents had to be sifted through to find the pertinent information” and that he wanted to clarify there is not 16000 documents of actual evidence. now he’s saying there’s more evidence? Quite the contradiction. Also when asked yesterday morning if he had plans to speak with saints players/personell while in canton he said he had no plans but would welcome the opportunity. Now he’s skipping town? I’ll be curious to see if he returns for the induction ceremonies and the HOF game. My guess is no.

  7. truthfactory says: Aug 4, 2012 2:54 PM

    The players are guilty. They (like all other athletes before them) will LIE and Deny deny deny!

    Ask Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Raphael Palmero, Rodger Clemens etc if they took steroids… Guess what the answer is.

    Ask Mike Vick (before he was found guilty) if he ran a dog fighting scheme.

    Sam Hurds laywer is claiming innocence on his drug charges despite being caught with several kilos of coke.

    If you want to figure out who’s lying, check to see who has the greater incentive to lie?

    The guy running a multi-billion dollar business who was a lot to lose if he makes the whole story up, or the players who have absolutely nothing to lose by continously denying it??

    Its not that hard to figure out…. They are 100% guilty and so many of you suckers are buying their predictable stories

  8. kaferwerks says: Aug 4, 2012 3:01 PM

    You must not have heard judge berrians comments on goodells actions. They were definitely not in goodells favor…

  9. daknight93 says: Aug 4, 2012 3:05 PM

    Godell where’s the pay to injure evidence? still waiting

  10. wfmulder says: Aug 4, 2012 3:06 PM

    truthfactory says:Aug 4, 2012 2:54 PM

    Its not that hard to figure out…. They are 100% guilty and so many of you suckers are buying their predictable stories
    __________________________________

    So tell me how that differs from you and the rest of the suckers buying into what the NFL is selling you

    Who`s more of a fool. The fool, or the fools who follow them

  11. mojosmagic says: Aug 4, 2012 3:32 PM

    It is beyond reason how the NFLPA continues to support a few suspended players who were trying to injure 99.5% of its members? Same with steroids. This proves they are a union in name only and when financially beneficial. A real union would support the game day officials union but they won’t.

  12. eyeh8goodell says: Aug 4, 2012 3:33 PM

    So let’s see this evidence then finally! Nobody is taking Goodell at his word aside from the trash talking fans that aren’t man enough to admit they jumped the gun and took a power hungry dictator at his word…….and one with a history of dishonesty at that.

  13. packhawk04 says: Aug 4, 2012 3:34 PM

    My only question is why did the saints players deny any of this is true, and then say ok, maybe we did do it, maybe, but its not our fault, we just followed orders… which story is accurate?

  14. silentcount says: Aug 4, 2012 3:40 PM

    The players and coaches hear Goodell announce to the world that there was a pay-to-injure-bounty-system in every game for three seasons. After he has fabricated public opinion into believing this as fact, he tells the coaches and players they can defend themselves later in an appeal. But yet, he does everything he can to hamper their ability to do so. They are treated as guilty until they prove their innosense, which is the opposite of how it works in America. Right now, Goodell is making one last ditch effort to make us think he has more evidence that what has already been shown and discredited. Then why hasn’t he already shown it to the accused? He knows he’ll automatically lose in court, when it’s shown that his original “witness” recanted his claims. “Borderline ridiculous” is what the federal judge has already defined Goodell’s accusations.

  15. drgreenstreak says: Aug 4, 2012 3:42 PM

    Drew Brees KNOWS the Saints are…., well, Saints. Couldn’t do anything wrong. God put his stamp of approval on every player and coach.
    Drew Brees will whine and snivel until his birthmark is indistinguishable from his face.
    Drew Brees is the father of Sean Payton’s baby…. Vitt.
    Drew Brees knows more than all of us.

    I am so sick of the denial by characters who should not be diminishing their careers with sheer stupidity. Drew Brees cannot possibly make himself look any more a stupid jerk than he now has so convincingly accomplished.
    I say put a bounty on Brees.

  16. goodolebaghead says: Aug 4, 2012 4:00 PM

    So…what he is saying, it is 100% ok to knock the ever living crap, and hammer an opponent into physical submission, as long as it is within the rules of contact AND no money changed hands. But the second you bet your teammate what amounts to chump change to these atheletes that you will be the first to do said 100% approved action, you are now Tanya Harding…weak.

  17. geauxjay says: Aug 4, 2012 4:11 PM

    Its not that hard to figure out…. They are 100% guilty and so many of you suckers are buying their predictable stories

    ————————

    Can you prove it? Roger Goodell hasn’t. I need more than “I have evidence,” and so should you.

  18. bigball1 says: Aug 4, 2012 4:19 PM

    The only world in which Goodell is right, is his own. Unfortunately that is a very important fact considering the CBA language. But, please! please! let a judge rule so this matter can come out in the light of day and not be the farce this commissioner has made it.
    In what world other than his, should evidence be a hidden matter. Really? Goodell response is “Trust me”, problem with that is, he is NOT trusted. At the end of the day that trust issue will be the biggest loss.

  19. randallflagg52 says: Aug 4, 2012 4:24 PM

    Well it’s a good thing the saints didn’t have a “pay to injure” program. They had a pay for performance program. There is a huge difference. Goodell needs to go, guy is ruining the game.

  20. geauxjay says: Aug 4, 2012 4:47 PM

    So now Roger is saying that all the Saints who swore under oath that there was no bounty program perjured themselves. Prove it.

    And seriously, everything he leaked to the media is BS. And he says “I have more evidence, but this stuff is real. And you can’t see it,” and you actually believe it? Are you people really that dense?

    You really trust a guy who says he’s serious about player safety, and then fights for an 18 game schedule and NFL in the Olympics? But hey, he punished the Saints and took a PR photo with a kid so that problem is solved, right?

  21. pastabelly says: Aug 4, 2012 5:04 PM

    This is bigger than the Saints. It’s about concussions and potential congressional investigations. The NFL has no need for playoffs for “cart offs” and “whacks”. The league warned the Saints. They ignored. They whine.

  22. goodellgate says: Aug 4, 2012 5:39 PM

    ***If you want to figure out who’s lying, check to see who has the greater incentive to lie?***

    Usually the guy who change his story every week and already got caught lying multiple times (Hargrove’s decalaration, Hargrove’s video..) is the one who is lying.

    In the other hand, the one who is saying the same thing since the beginning, and who is willing to tell that story in front of a judge, under oath, is the one who is telling the truth.

  23. mwindle1973 says: Aug 4, 2012 6:07 PM

    Doesn’t happen often. I’ve been complaining about Goodell as a Commissioner since he got the job. But I totally support him on this issue. I firmly believe when all the legal wrangling is done, his actions will be upheld. I for one think he could’ve been harder on them if he wanted to.

  24. mjkelly77 says: Aug 4, 2012 6:18 PM

    randallflagg52 says:Aug 4, 2012 4:24 PM

    Well it’s a good thing the saints didn’t have a “pay to injure” program. They had a pay for performance program. There is a huge difference. Goodell needs to go, guy is ruining the game.
    ______________

    If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong. Huge difference? Uh-uh. Both illegal and always have been. The Saints lied and then kept lying. Maybe everyone will learn from this. Commissioner Goodell is not ruining the game, he’s saving it. Those who are forward thinking understand this. And that’s why everything he’s done will stand.

  25. prmpft says: Aug 4, 2012 6:21 PM

    i will say again tha goodell is a jackass.

  26. larryjames836 says: Aug 4, 2012 6:24 PM

    Wish one is more important to be investigated a DWI, DUI, Drug charge, Agg. Assul. charge, Weapons charge, or a pay-for- performance which one is more in line for suspension. Which one do the NFL has more evidences of that they can stand on a pay-for-performance program must be legal in the NFL because every team has one it might not be on paper but they has one are had one. So Roger Goodell need to do some deep investigating if not he is done because the Saints is not the only team with that program because the court are going to find him wrong.

  27. mwindle1973 says: Aug 4, 2012 6:27 PM

    goodolebaghead says: Aug 4, 2012 4:00 PM

    So…what he is saying, it is 100% ok to knock the ever living crap, and hammer an opponent into physical submission, as long as it is within the rules of contact AND no money changed hands. But the second you bet your teammate what amounts to chump change to these atheletes that you will be the first to do said 100% approved action, you are now Tanya Harding…weak.
    __________________

    Yeah that’s exactly what he is saying…all except the Tonya Harding stuff. Actually it’s against 2 NFL rules that have existed for many, many years. It’s a salary cap violation too. And also nobody made a bet. If a bet was made then it breaks a third rule….gambling. All teams know the rules. There is enough proof to show that the Saints had a disregard for some of these rules. Furthermore they showed a disregard for the NFL’s authority to investigate this matter, by obstructing the investigation. Which seems to be the lost point in this. It’s not only that they would not cooperate, but the also obstructed the investigation. Which in turn led to the violations going on for 2 more entire seasons. I ask you this…what evidence have the players shown. The need to have a believable answers for all or most of the allegations the league has made. This isn’t criminal court, poking holes in the NFL’s case is ridiculous. THey are going to have to get specific about what their admitted pay for performance program (which is a violation in itself) was all about. What did it entail, how was it organized and implemented. I mean you do realize they have admitted to pay for performance and that is against the rules. So a reduction in suspension is the absolute best case scenario for them. Based on evidence presented by the players to the public, I believe the NFL at this point. We will wait and see what the courts say.

  28. thejuddstir says: Aug 4, 2012 6:37 PM

    Glad to see Goodell is sticking to his guns. I have said all along the league has much more evidence but is only trying to maintain the image of the league and the players and because of this the Saints* players etc. have decided to push the envelope. Saints* first denied. Then covered up. Were warned. Kept doing it, Denied again. Then said it wasn’t a “bounty” but a “pay for performance”, then it was “we were only doing what the coaches made us do”, then it wasn’t a pay for performance, then ……..lie, coverup, and like Goodell said, “semantics, semantics, semantics, semantics” and Saints* fans suck it up like a sponge. I’m glad this has died down some and Goodell is sticking to his guns, too bad he doesn’t punish Vit, Vilma and those who keep spewing b.s. even harder. Funny , Tom Benson is the owner and as such, has access to ALL the evidence and we haven’t heard a peep from him have we.

  29. spankdatazz says: Aug 4, 2012 6:53 PM

    comments from judge:

    And Berrigan – also, undoubtedly, to the delight of Vilma and Co. – suggested that Goodell had shoehorned the allegations into his jurisdictional strike zone. She said the evidence on which Goodell based the suspensions easily could have been classified as on-field violations or salary-cap circumvention, rather than off-field, integrity-of-the-game crimes.

    She said that the agreement of arbitrators might have been a result of possible fear of ruling against the powerful commissioner.

  30. axespray says: Aug 4, 2012 6:55 PM

    kaferwerks says:Aug 4, 2012 2:20 PM
    “Goodell is seriously looking more and more dumb as the days go on. ”

    I’d probably become dumb too if I had to babysit stupid players who can’t handle themselves during the off season.

  31. packhawk04 says: Aug 4, 2012 10:05 PM

    The saints players denied any of this is true. Then it may be true, but they were just following orders. Again, which story is accurate? Can anyone answer that?

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