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Report: Benson, Goodell meet to discuss bounty case

Tom Benson AP

Generally speaking, the Saints have pushed back much harder against the NFL regarding the bounty investigation than the Patriots did regarding Spygate.  Then again, the Pats got merely a stern talking-to in comparison to the 77 games in suspensions imposed on the various persons involved in the Saints scandal.

Through it all, owner Tom Benson has been publicly silent.  On Tuesday, he privately made his concerns known to Commissioner Roger Goodell.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the two men met on Tuesday so that Benson could address the manner in which the team was treated.

Presumably, Benson wasn’t looking to thank Goodell for going easy on the team.

The NFL has encountered significant resistance to the suspensions, once the process turned from coaches and executives to the players.  By refusing to disclose key evidence and by publicizing and otherwise leaking information that contained troubling flaws, the NFL opened the door for scrutiny.

At its core, a red/blue state disagreement exists regarding whether the Saints used bounties, per se.  The term suggests that players were engaged in deliberate behavior that went beyond the confines of the rules to inflict injury.  The reality seems to be that the Saints offered money to players who applied good, clean, legal hits in a way that kept their opponents from staying in the game.

The league has come close to acknowledging that, under its rules, paying players for clean, legal hits that knock an opponent out of a game constitutes a bounty.  But that would potentially spark a debate the NFL likely doesn’t want to moderate regarding whether it’s fair to impose such sweeping penalties (especially against the players) for giving the men who play the game a marginal cash incentive to do something they already have a strong incentive to do in a sport that rewards those who create attrition with a greater chance for victory.

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30 Responses to “Report: Benson, Goodell meet to discuss bounty case”
  1. mataug says: Aug 14, 2012 1:32 PM

    For a moment, I was wondering how did Cedric Benson get pulled into this :)

  2. panamon says: Aug 14, 2012 1:34 PM

    “Saints owner Tom Benson spent this morning meeting and discussing his team’s embattled off-season with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.”

    A lot less assumption than your interpretation, obviously.

  3. kattykathy says: Aug 14, 2012 1:43 PM

    Well it was only a matter of time before things started to really pile up on Goodell.
    Mr. Benson likely informed the power crazed hypocrit that he ain’t seen nothing yet.
    I will assume that Mr. Benson informed Goodell that he, Micky Loomis, and coaches have lawsuit paperwork already prepared for signatures and a legal team assembled that is second to none. If Goodell continues his charade to manipulate the gullible minds of his puppets in the media, and simple minded fans that know no better, then he will be facing serious issues in court that are far more serious than he faces with Mr. Vilma.

    I will also assume that Mr. benson informed the lying Goodell that he has already assembled a majority of owners that will look unfavorably upon Goodell if he doesnt drop the “bountygate” lies and admit his shame immediatly.

    Make no mistake, Mr. Benson has some ammo that he is laying on the table

  4. booker1974 says: Aug 14, 2012 1:44 PM

    The only thing that matters is if bounties were actually placed on Warner and Favre. If not (and a dozen or so people have testified under oath that those allegations were false), then all there was in place was a pay for performance system. Under the CBA suspensions are not allowed for pay for performance violations.

    Additionally, if there were no bounties on Warner and Favre, then when the Saints denied there were bounties they were not lying. They were obviously guilty of pay for performance violations, but that’s a lot different than what they were accused of.

  5. nispikers says: Aug 14, 2012 1:46 PM

    Well its about damn time! Maybe he has informatoin from Louis Freeh concerning the non-evidence that Goodell has! I am sure Benson is not there to thank Goodell!

  6. jrmbadger says: Aug 14, 2012 1:50 PM

    Well, its not good for Goodell when a federal judge outright states that the player’s were railroaded and the only thing stopping her from throwing out the suspensions is that she needs to determine whether or not she has the power to throw them out…..

    Pretty embarrassing really, and I think Goodell would be wise to cut his losses and strike a deal with the players. However, he’s shown in the past that he’s a “stick to his guns” character who foolishly maintains his position regardless of the circumstances and the evidence so I doubt it will happen.

  7. chrisjomiller1985 says: Aug 14, 2012 1:54 PM

    Hopefully this can finally be cleared up and football can resume, instead of this drama…This takes away time from ESPN to talk about Tim Tebow!

  8. Stiller43 says: Aug 14, 2012 1:56 PM

    Then again, the Pats got merely a stern talking-to in comparison to the 77 games in suspensions imposed on the various persons involved in the Saints scandal.

    Yeah, and the Pats ACTUALLY cheated.

  9. chmba says: Aug 14, 2012 2:03 PM

    Get real . Watch the tapes. The hits on Farve were NOT legal hits and anyone with better than 20/400 eyesight or who could hear about the penalty calls knows they were not legal. Picking up and piledriving a quarterback into the ground is not a legal hit. Greg Williams coaches dirty football. Saints got what they deserved. Oh, BTW I am long time Saints fan and had season tickets for first 7 years they were around until I moved to another part of the country.

  10. njsteelersfan says: Aug 14, 2012 2:04 PM

    Goodell should of told him “Ok i’ll let them back but one DIRTY HIT meanning a flag and both of them can pack thier bags for good ” plain and simple

  11. mjs2012 says: Aug 14, 2012 2:05 PM

    If the next article is “Report: Benson drop kicks Goodell”, that would make my day……no…….that would make my year!

  12. narutofan10 says: Aug 14, 2012 2:10 PM

    I really do not care about this. You did the bounties you were caught stop wasting court money on this dispute

  13. jpmelon says: Aug 14, 2012 2:13 PM

    Benson says “Roger, I think the suspensions are a little harsh”.
    Goodell says, “Well Tom, I told your team to put an end to this a long time ago and it didn’t stop. If the team had stopped when they were told, this wouldn’t have been an issue. This completely undermines the NFL’s player safety initiative and the NFL has to make sure that the punishment is severe enough to make a statement in our 100+ current and future lawsuits with former players who claim the NFL didn’t care about their safety”.
    Benson says, “oh, now I get it”.

  14. junkfooddaddy says: Aug 14, 2012 2:16 PM

    Tom Benson should be thanking Goodell, because the NFL will be taking the ultimate accountability and liability for all potential lawsuits from the bounties.

  15. nflfan555 says: Aug 14, 2012 2:20 PM

    Then again, the Pats got merely a stern talking-to in comparison to the 77 games in suspensions imposed on the various persons involved in the Saints scandal.

    Well the difference between what the Pats did (kind of a joke) and the Saints did (even Gail Sayers thinks there should have been criminal prosecutions against the Saints) is significantly substantial.

    Goodell will crush Beson like a small bug – he actually looks like a bug…

  16. darthsaint says: Aug 14, 2012 2:25 PM

    The fact that the NFL tried to say this was a closed door investigation and they could not share any evidence yet continually “leaked” any bit of misinformation they could to create negative public perception was telling.

    The fact that their “bullet proof” outside counsel Mary Jo White said the telling piece of evidence that led her to believe in the bounty case, that being Hargrove’s supposed letter admitting to a bounty system, ended up being 100% false after Hargrove himself went public stating he never admitted to such things at which point the NFL never mentioned Mary Jo White or he letter again.

    The fact that the NFL without a doubt, painted a picture of a “bounty” system where players were paid to purposefully injure other players outside the rules of the game. But now, paints a picture as if pay for performance and salary cap issues are basically the same thing as criminally trying to “end players careers” through illegal hits.

    The fact that multiple pieces of evidence, from the email that was supposedly sent directly to Head Coach Payton about putting 5k on it yet in the end, we learn he was copied to the email many responses later which he stated he never read or paid attention and that Ornstein himself stated it was a joke based on the quasi investigation the NFL had done before. Or how Hargrove was the player that stated pay me my money…when in reality, he wasn’t even part of that play. Or how Vilma paid 25k, then it changed to offered 25k, then it changed to we can’t show you the evidence. Or how the NFL gave us a hand a written ledger, from an unnamed source, which supposedly was proof of the bounty system. Then Coach Vitt stated many numbers on that ledger he knew were dead wrong because they involved him and offered to take a lie detector test based on it. And that if some numbers were that wrong, how can anyone trust the rest of the document to be true. Since then the NFL hasn’t mentioned that ledger either.

    The NFL without a doubt overplayed their hand on this case. Goodell knows it…his ego won’t allow him to admit it publicly. You don’t offer reducing your judgement if you have made your decision the right way. You don’t ask the players to accept less punishment in order to stop the current lawsuit around the NFLs investigation. The NFL doesn’t want the truth on this one. They wanted the Saints to play the sacrificial lamb and when we as a team/fan base said hell no…they had no idea we meant it.

  17. calij5619 says: Aug 14, 2012 2:29 PM

    The verdic is in guilty as charged.

  18. sfsaintsfan says: Aug 14, 2012 2:30 PM

    If he does not reduce all of the suspensions and get a settlement agreeable to Vilma on the Defamation Lawsuit this will not end well for Goodell.

    I am sure that Tom Benson has been waiting for the right moment for this meeting. You don’t get to being a self-made billionaire without a keen sense of timing.

    Goodell has lied all along in this matter. 50,000 pages of “evidence” HA HA, what a joke! Supposedly the Saints have been punished because they failed to end the “program” according to the NFL? What is the penalty to Goodell if he loses the Defamation case that Vilma has filed? Can he be fired for cause and forfeit the rest of his contract?

  19. amaf21 says: Aug 14, 2012 2:35 PM

    Time for the Commish to drop the hammer on this stooge once and for all. And that’s the bottom line.

  20. SeenThisB4 says: Aug 14, 2012 2:35 PM

    Seems to me that Benson was just letting Goodell in on the specifics from the FBI investigation, namely, that they found no such evidence of a “bounty” system.

    Goodell’s back is against the wall, and firmly being pushed into it. The pressure is mounting and his anticipation that this injustice would just fade away, was wrong.

    Stay defiant Saints! Just Win!!

  21. rpkllc says: Aug 14, 2012 2:41 PM

    An then after his meeting with the NFL, he and Loomis head on over to the ESPN offices and get a blank check.

  22. icu84bs says: Aug 14, 2012 3:16 PM

    It is amazing how unethical behavior is so quickly justified by those profiting from it.

  23. weepingjebus says: Aug 14, 2012 3:24 PM

    “The term suggests that players were engaged in deliberate behavior that went beyond the confines of the rules to inflict injury. The reality seems to be that the Saints offered money to players who applied good, clean, legal hits in a way that kept their opponents from staying in the game.”

    Still don’t see a difference.

  24. gravedigger93 says: Aug 14, 2012 3:36 PM

    Don’t players already get paid money to apply clean, legal hits?

    The NFL needs to acknowledge and admit that this is less about player safety and more about money. This, like all the concussion rules and other safety rules, is about money and not player safety or the integrity of the game. They can prove that Loomis and Payton both had knowledge of some kind of pay-for-performance program that was not on the books. That is a clear cap violation similarly to what the Broncos were doing in the late 90′s. Admit that you are mad this team was not abiding by the salary cap and then punish the team.

    If there was actual evidence that these players took money under the table and weren’t reporting it, don’t you think the state of Louisiana and the United States government would be investigating them? Since there hasn’t been a shred of discussion about investigating such a thing, that must mean these players reported that money they took, right? Couldn’t the NFL just use that as their evidence? No they can’t because there was no extra money reported because no extra money changed hands.

  25. jscar28 says: Aug 14, 2012 3:41 PM

    I dont understand why they just call this site Bash New England Talk, with mere short breaks in between lol

  26. jared2020 says: Aug 14, 2012 3:42 PM

    Interesting thought @gravedigger..

    As the muddy water clears, it becomes extremely apparent that Commissioner Goodell certainly over cooked his grits in doling out these unequaled punishments to the Saints organization.

    One must ask the question; Have the Saints not named an Interim Coach for Joe Vitt, because they are waiting to see if the earth falls out from under Goodell? Could we see Sean Payton coaching this year??

    I for one am anxious to see some full discovery and disclosure on this whole Bounty Debacle!

  27. silentcount says: Aug 14, 2012 3:43 PM

    Benson hired the former FBI guy to investigate his team regarding the bounty accusations. I’m sure his meeting with Goodell was to inform him that nothing was found to prove the suspensions were justified. Perhaps he also added, “Your fired!” To make it official, he’ll ask the other owners for a vote, unless Goodell is willing to publicly admit his mistakes and free Sean Payton. JUSTICE!

  28. kane337 says: Aug 14, 2012 4:35 PM

    So many praying and hopeful Saints fans. That meeting isn’t going to change anything. Goodell will stick to his guns.

  29. chatham10 says: Aug 14, 2012 5:11 PM

    Mr. Benson met with the Comm. to show him his dance step he use when the Saints win but he will have to dance better then that to clear this up. I love it when a judge in NO think that the punishment was harsh and unfair, it will remind people on how some judges rule unfair for their punishment and they do not even live in NO.

  30. barrywhodat says: Aug 17, 2012 1:42 PM

    Sure chmba you were a SAINTS FAN before you moved away why don’t you tell us something that’s true. How many times have you watched the 2009 NFC Championship Game? I didn’t see Favre piledrived into the ground, what are you talking about maybe you need to stop watching so much pro wrestling!!! I’ve watch the game a number of times and sure it was a physical game, but the winner was going to the Superbowl, I think that you must have mistaken Drew Brees for Brett Favre as the QB who was driven a number of times into the ground during that game. I’ll grant it that it was a physical game but everyone acts like the Vikings defense was acting like a bunch of choir boys, sorry but go back and watch the game again, sure the SAINTS hit Favre, but Drew Bree’s was driven to the ground on his throwing shoulder at least twice in regulation and once in overtime, don’t tell me the Vikings weren’t trying to knock Drew out of the game, and that’s okay, as long as the hits like most of the SAINTS hits were legal hits not illegal hits. Until football fans realize that football is a tough physical game fans are going to cry foul every time their team is out physicaled by another team and in turn your team loses. Like my son-in-law who played at the University of Alabama told, in football someone is the hammer and someones the nail, we know who was who during the 2009 NFC Championship Game. WHO DAT FRG
    Barry Sanchez
    Powder Springs, Ga.

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