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Smith, Fujita dispute Goodell’s sworn statement on March 21 issue

DeMaurice Smith AP

All too often, a lawsuit gets focused on a collateral issue.  And that collateral issue then takes on a life of its own.

That’s precisely what has happened over the last 48 in the bounty cases.

The NFLPA has, at the direction of Judge Helen G. Berrigan, submitted information regarding the date on which the NFLPA asked the league to delay the imposition of discipline on players.  Judge Berrigan asked for that information via a Wednesday court order in an apparent effort to confirm (some may say “call B.S. on”) an August 10 claim by NFL outside counsel Gregg Levy that Commissioner Roger Goodell was ready on March 21 to impose discipline on the players and the non-players, but that Goodell waited as to the players at the request of the union.

The question has relevance because the players believe that statements made by Goodell about the players on March 21 reflect that he had made up his mind before conducting a full investigation and rendering a reasoned decision.  If he already had made his decision as of March 21, the statements provide no proof of bias or partiality.  (Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma also believes that the statements fall beyond the scope of the labor deal and are thus subject to a defamation claim, if they were made before the investigation had completed.)

Before I go any farther, I need to be clear on one thing.  I’m not suggesting or saying or implying that the NFL deliberately gave false information to the court.  Routinely, lawyers who didn’t experience the events that they’re trying to wedge into a predetermined narrative make unintended factual mistakes.  It’s one of the byproducts of the duty of zealous representation; sometimes, the zeal causes a lawyer to accidentally drift beyond that which is real.

Moreover, direct conflicts in sworn testimony don’t mean that someone is committing perjury.  Humans often perceive their communications very differently, as proven time and again by the “grocery list” experiment in grade school, where the teacher tells Kid No. 1 to get “milk, eggs, bread” and by the time it gets to Kid No. 27 the lists consists of “purple, monkey, meatball.”

I’m saying this because the curve ball thrown by Judge Berrigan has quickly become a full-blown, he-said/she-said clusterfudge.

On Thursday, the NFL explained in its submission that the NFLPA asked for a 60-day delay of all discipline on March 7, that the NFL later declined to delay discipline “especially with regard to discipline of the club and non-player employees,” and that Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith later agreed verbally “to address first discipline of the club and then to afford the NFLPA a reasonable opportunity to conduct its own investigation and express its views before [Goodell] imposed discipline on the players.”

Predictably (given the inability of the NFL and NFLPA to agree on anything right now), Smith disagrees with Goodell’s contention.  “At no point did I reach some sort of agreement with Mr. Goodell that, in exchange for delaying the NFL’s imposition of discipline on players, the NFLPA would conduct its own investigation and share the results of that investigation with the NFL,” Smith said in a sworn statement filed with the court on Friday, a copy of which PFT has obtained.

Smith also takes advantage of the opportunity to fire another shot at the league’s overall process.

“I stressed to Mr. Goodell that it was important for the accused players and the NFLPA to have access to the League’s information, and that the information be presented so that the accused players could respond before any punishment was imposed,” Smith said.  “Finally, I emphasized that transparency was important, so that if there were clear evidence of a pay-to-injure program, the NFLPA could work with the NFL to stop such behavior and ensure it never happens again.  The cooperation and transparency that I requested, and that I firmly believed was in the best interest of all parties, was not provided and to date, it has never been provided.”

Taking it all one level higher, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita executed an affidavit in which he directly disputes the claim that Goodell was ready to discipline the players as of March 21.  Fujita testifies that he called Goodell on “approximately” March 20, because Fujita was “disturbed that my name had been leaked in media reports concerning the NFL’s investigation.”  Fujita then testifies that, during the call, “Goodell told me he would be coming down hard with punishments on the Saints coaches, but that with respect to Saints players, he was not quite sure what he had on them, and that player punishments therefore would take some time.”

In other words, the NFLPA believes that Goodell’s sworn statement was unintentionally inaccurate, at best.

Now that Judge Berrigan has the information, it’s not known what the next step will be.  She could, in theory, convene an evidentiary hearing, at which time Goodell, Smith, Fujita, and perhaps others would testify in open court — and Judge Berrigan would then decide based on their words and demeanor what really happened.

She also could try to resolve the factual dispute based on the information that has been provided.  Given that every move she makes now eventually will be scrutinized by an appellate court, don’t be surprised if she takes the safer course and creates a full factual on which her eventual decisions will be based, by ordering that the parties and witnesses give live testimony.

And if Judge Berrigan decides that a decision as to the players hadn’t been made as of March 21, she could be much more likely to find that Goodell’s March 21 statements fall beyond the protections of the labor deal with respect to Vilma’s defamation claim — and that Goodell’s March 21 statements about player responsibility reflect bias and partiality in the overall process, given that the statements came in the absence of a completed investigation.

Remember, Judge Berrigan said last week, “If I can [rule in Vilma's favor] legally, I will.  If I find a way, I will.”  This factual dispute, if resolved in favor of Vilma and the other players, could give Berrigan the path that she has been looking for.

Regardless of how it all turns out, it’s obvious based on the traffic and comments generated by the articles regarding the March 21 issue that this obscure quirk in the facts has caught not only Judge Berrigan’s attention, but also yours.

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67 Responses to “Smith, Fujita dispute Goodell’s sworn statement on March 21 issue”
  1. eaglesw00t says: Aug 17, 2012 1:27 PM

    Get right out of town???

    Fujita doesnt agree with Goodell? I would never have imagined that one. He seems like such a reasonable individual.

  2. sdisme says: Aug 17, 2012 1:27 PM

    And before the “why wouldn’t Fujita lie” posts come out:

    Fujita said exact same thing in June 24th interview with U-T San Diego

  3. bearsstillsuck says: Aug 17, 2012 1:30 PM

    Aren’t judges supposed to be impartial?

  4. radbob1 says: Aug 17, 2012 1:31 PM

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/fujita-sees-bounty-probe-part-180745481–nfl.html

    AP article from June where Fujita tells them the same thing as in his declaration.

  5. upperdecker19 says: Aug 17, 2012 1:33 PM

    “the zeal causes a lawyer to accidentally drift beyond that which is real.”

    Interesting read. But was this portion written by Jackie Chiles or the ghost of Johnny Cochran?

  6. pwndabeer says: Aug 17, 2012 1:33 PM

    oh so florio is a lawyer now?

  7. randomguy9999 says: Aug 17, 2012 1:35 PM

    these guys had a bounty system… end of story.

    if they pull the ol legal loophole thing and get out of these punishments… it’s just plain wrong.

  8. mitchdms says: Aug 17, 2012 1:36 PM

    The judge has heard extensive testimony from all parties on the issue of Vilma’s request for restraining order (which is what her comments were related to). The fact that after all of that, she now has reached an opinion, even without ruling, is the exact opposite of impartiality.

  9. basballguy says: Aug 17, 2012 1:38 PM

    One would think the NFLPA wouldn’t reduce itself to screaming “liar, liar pants on fire!”

  10. staugslugga says: Aug 17, 2012 1:39 PM

    Judges are impartial, but they eventually have to make a decision based on what they hear and read.

    She told Vilma that after she heard both sides. This is a routine practice for judges. At the end, heck, they may even ‘rule in someone’s favor.’

    Can’t believe that’s over people’s heads.

  11. qdog112 says: Aug 17, 2012 1:41 PM

    pwndabeer says: Aug 17, 2012 1:33 PM

    oh so florio is a lawyer now?
    ***********************************
    Apparently, more-so than Pash and the rest of NFL counsel. They’re the reason we’re here now.

  12. staugslugga says: Aug 17, 2012 1:41 PM

    They didn’t have a bounty system. If they get wrongfully punished for something they didn’t do, it’s just plain wrong.

  13. maryannwiththeshakyhands says: Aug 17, 2012 1:42 PM

    My head hurts now.

  14. tke743 says: Aug 17, 2012 1:48 PM

    If the penalty for for a coach lying to the commissioner is 1 year, what is the penalty for the commissioner lying?

  15. sdisme says: Aug 17, 2012 1:50 PM

    randomguy9999 says:Aug 17, 2012 1:35 PM

    these guys had a bounty system… end of story.

    if they pull the ol legal loophole thing and get out of these punishments… it’s just plain wrong.
    _______________________________

    Uhhhhhum…. they want the evidence laid out before an impartial arbitrator.

    Then NFL is using a “catch-all” clause in the CBA to hide the evidence they keep saying they have. Test for you, watch this video and see if Roger Goodell moves the target:

  16. tomnickle says: Aug 17, 2012 1:51 PM

    “Aren’t judges supposed to be impartial”

    Yes they are. But in cases like this the judge has to weigh how the party in power(NFL & Roger Goodell) arrived at their conclusions in determining discipline as much as the actions of the parties who were disciplined.

    If Anthony Hargrove, Gregg Williams and others who have allegedly confessed were given fraudulent information with the intention of inducing a confession or threatened with stiffer penalties in the event that they essentially didn’t tell Goodell and other members of the NFL investigation what they wanted to hear, than the evidence used to discipline the parties involved should not only be scrutinized at a significantly higher level but should likely be disregarded altogether.

    The NFL has used its flagship network to defame Jonathan Vilma specifically and to a lesser extent the others involved. They have consistently presumed guilt without a shred of actual evidence to support the opinions. There has been no balance in their reporting at all.

    Roger Goodell has withheld information and evidence pertaining to the bounty case from both the accused, the NFLPA and the media. If there’s a smoking gun, why not produce it? If the evidence gathered is within the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the law there should be no reason for the NFL to leave it concealed. If the evidence is a sworn statement or testimony from one or more individuals it must become public record at one point or another who the individuals are so that their potential motives can be scrutinized. Because if they have no reason to maliciously falsify statements about a bounty scandal, where’s the harm in their testimony being evaluated?

    For the record, I despise Drew Brees, can’t stand Sean Payton and have little respect for Mickey Loomis or Tom Benson. I would be ecstatic if the Saints’ suspensions were upheld. But only if they’re upheld because they’re just.

  17. geniusfan says: Aug 17, 2012 1:51 PM

    How is this judge impartial? She clearly favors Vilma and she is promising to find a way to rule for him before all the evidence comes out.

    I mean come on she is from Lousiana and wants to look good for the voters a large majority of which are most likely Saints fans.

    Conflict of interest is putting it mildly.

  18. nashwaakkidd says: Aug 17, 2012 1:51 PM

    aren’t judges supposed to be impartial?? she’ stated she wants to find a legal way to rule for vilma !! that in itself should be grounds for appeal. i believe they did have a pay for injury system, and once this crap gets thrown out of court, vilma’s suspention should be doubled for all this nonsense.

  19. mitchdms says: Aug 17, 2012 1:51 PM

    Ugh, I meant that is is the exact definition of impartiality.

  20. oneandonlyramsfaninpa says: Aug 17, 2012 1:53 PM

    NFL cares aout the fans, the game, and the players. the NFLPA only cares about the players, so they couple care less about anything else. we are seeing that throughout this case

  21. daysend564 says: Aug 17, 2012 1:54 PM

    Fujita has lied every step of the way. Why stop now?

  22. geniusfan says: Aug 17, 2012 1:54 PM

    “They didn’t have a bounty system. If they get wrongfully punished for something they didn’t do, it’s just plain wrong.”

    Yes they did. Sean Payton and Greg Williams admitted it. Why do you Saints fans continue to ignore this?

    There is evidence whether you want to acknowledge it or not Saints fans.

  23. kattykathy says: Aug 17, 2012 1:57 PM

    Did anyone really think Goodell was telling the truth besides his groupies on here?

    Of course his sworn statement isn’t truthful, he has displayed over and over again that he can only mislead, fabricate, leak misinformation, and downright lie.

    I hope the courts smack him HARD.

    He took a simple pay for performance system, and massaged, molded, and inflated it into “BOUNTYGATE”. He claimed 50,000 pages of “evidence” which he never showed anybody, and was actually 200 pages of mumbo jumbo. He claimed coached and players admitted to bounties.
    Vitt, Williams, and each player have strongly denied ever admitted anything more than an innocent reward system for hard play.
    He leaked emails, from a convict that was proved to be just a joke. He released journals which were quickly disproved and didn’t add up. He leaked another journal entry that was also promptly disproved.
    He has lied to the press, the public, and to those who can’t think for themselves.

  24. canowhoopazz says: Aug 17, 2012 1:57 PM

    Remember when you didn’t need a JD to understand football??

  25. tbtrojan says: Aug 17, 2012 1:58 PM

    I fail to see how this point means anything either way.
    So what if he hadn’t decided punishment on March 21st, it’s possible to know somebody is guilty long before you finish an investigation, you simply don’t know how guilty.
    Goodell very well might have known Vilma and the rest had done stuff but had a load more evidence to plow through to see if they were guilty of more.

    What I don’t get is how the team/coaching staff can be punished before the players, they were all in on the same thing so if Goodell had reviewed all the documents and ruled on the team what was the delay on the players?

  26. cwmorga says: Aug 17, 2012 2:01 PM

    If he was ready to impose discipline on March 21, why did he tell Rich Eisen in April that he was still weighing the evidence?

    WHY WOULD AN IMPARTIAL ARBITRATOR LIE?

  27. puppylovenyc says: Aug 17, 2012 2:05 PM

    The NFL has been a “wee” bit inconsistent in what they have been saying. The commish has backtracked a couple of times already. Regardless, someone is lying. And lying to a federal judge is a big no-no. I also wonder why other media outlets *coughESPNcough* are now on radio silence when it comes to this? Things that make you go hmmmmm.

  28. sb44champs says: Aug 17, 2012 2:05 PM

    “bearsstillsuck says:
    Aug 17, 2012 1:30 PM
    Aren’t judges supposed to be impartial?”
    ————————————
    So what exactly makes this judge NOT impartial?
    Just because she formed an opinion based on the facts in the case does not mean she is not impartial!!!!! Get it yet???

  29. brenenostler says: Aug 17, 2012 2:08 PM

    “Goodell told me he would be coming down hard with punishments on the Saints coaches, but that with respect to Saints players, he was not quite sure what he had on them, and that player punishments therefore would take some time.”
    ________________________________

    Ok, it seems to me that Goodell knew before March 21 that he was going to punish the players at some point. He just didn’t know to what extent. The NFLPA sent a request to Goodell to delay the punishments until they investigated more. And he did. So it doesn’t seem to me like he did anything wrong.

  30. richndc says: Aug 17, 2012 2:09 PM

    I tell ye what, I shared a cab the other day with that DeMaurice Smith fella, he turned loose a silent but deadly one that got us both tossed from the cab and had my eyes burning for an hour.

  31. flannlv says: Aug 17, 2012 2:10 PM

    Everyone can obtain a copy of court proceedings and filings. They are all online. As a Saints fan I have to say, one party to this has consistently said the same thing. The other party to this has changed and contorted with the wind.

  32. miles58a says: Aug 17, 2012 2:15 PM

    You know if Goodell would be trying as hard to prove they had a bounty program as he is trying to prove he don’t have to prove they did. He wouldn’t look so bad. Thats all he keeps focusing on is that the CBA says he don’t have to prove they had one. Also if he would show real proof or just come out and just say what it really was this could all go away. I believe Vilma would turn down a 2 game suspension but he would take a 6 game suspension and Goodell admit it was just a pay for performance program and they were not playing dirty. And for all y’all that keep saying that its the same thing No its not. They are not dirty players trying to take someones knee out or break someones arm. It was players getting payed extra money for a legal hit they they were already getting payed and trying to do anyway. I’m not a 100% sure about this one but I think I heard or read that they would have to put money in the pot if they were flaged not get payed

  33. miles58a says: Aug 17, 2012 2:18 PM

    Paid. They got me so mad can’t even spell

  34. mavajo says: Aug 17, 2012 2:21 PM

    “Aren’t judges supposed to be impartial?”

    I don’t think you understand how law works. She made that statement after reviewing extensive evidence. The fact that she’s reached a conclusion after hearing evidence doesn’t suddenly make her partial. That’s her whole job. Review the evidence, reach a conclusion.

    If you’re a judge and someone says “This guy told me he was going to mow my house’s lawn, so I paid him $100. But after I gave him the money, he never showed up.” — what would you do? You clearly know the guy basically stole $100 from the homeowner, and so you intend to rule in favor of the homeowner. But now you have to go find the legal grounds to do so.

    That’s what’s happening here, but it’s significantly more complicated, and thus takes much more digging to find legal grounds to make the decision that the judge believes to be just. And that’s ultimately the judge’s job — render a just decision based on and in harmony with the law.

  35. mojosmagic says: Aug 17, 2012 2:23 PM

    The players are sure having fun being ripped off by Smith’s and his cronies legal fees.

  36. musicman495 says: Aug 17, 2012 2:23 PM

    pwndabeer says: Aug 17, 2012 1:33 PM

    oh so florio is a lawyer now?
    ——————
    Actually, yes.

  37. r0b1b0y says: Aug 17, 2012 2:24 PM

    Maybe there was a bounty program and maybe there wasn’t, all I know is that there is one side that wants all the facts on the table and another side doing everything it can to keep the facts from coming to light. Regardless of what I believed before, this all makes me very suspicious of Goodell and the league office. What are they trying to keep hidden? Why? What else is he hiding? Can we trust this man going forward?

  38. musicman495 says: Aug 17, 2012 2:29 PM

    Wasn’t March 21 the day that John Dean told Commissioner Goodell that there was a
    “Cancer on the Commissioner’s Office” and that Goodell was it?

  39. touchdownroddywhite says: Aug 17, 2012 2:30 PM

    Very, very interesting turn of events, and in the end, I think statements made on-the-record, will cause this round to tilt in favor of Vilma and the players.

  40. touchdownroddywhite says: Aug 17, 2012 2:31 PM

    @rob1boy – Goodell couldn’t be trusted at any moment after the destruction of the spygate videos. Not that I cared about that incident in the slightest, but it was proof-in-the-pudding that he will hide/eliminate evidence that is TRULY detrimental to the league.

  41. richndc says: Aug 17, 2012 2:33 PM

    I heard that Smith feller once broke wind into a paper bag and it carried him off about 7 miles.

  42. effjohntaylornorelation says: Aug 17, 2012 2:33 PM

    De Smith just seems so slimy. Typical union rhetoric.

  43. musicman495 says: Aug 17, 2012 2:34 PM

    geniusfan says: Aug 17, 2012 1:51 PM

    How is this judge impartial? She clearly favors Vilma and she is promising to find a way to rule for him before all the evidence comes out.

    I mean come on she is from Lousiana and wants to look good for the voters a large majority of which are most likely Saints fans.
    ————-
    Judge Berrigan is an appointed for life, confirmed by the US Senate, Federal Judge.

    You truly are a geniusfan.

  44. bushwoodcc says: Aug 17, 2012 2:35 PM

    The Saints and players have admitted to a pay for performance scheme that included “knockouts and cart-offs”. It does not matter if these resulted from legal or illegal hits. The fact remains that payment was offered for hits resulting in injury (knockouts and cart-offs).

    That makes it a bounty system, and even if you want to call it “pay for performance” it is still a violation of league rules that the Saints covered up and lied about and continued to employ despite multiple warnings to end the practice if it was going on.

    In regards to Smith’s contention that there was no agreement, that could be a matter of semantics. Goodel had a March 7 letter from the NFLPA requesting a 60 delay in announcing penalties on anyone (players and non-players), Goodel and Smith have a conversation and Goodel says “we see no reason to hold off on non-player discipline as you do not represent them, but we will grant you the delay you request earlier this month so that you can investigate”. From Goodel’s perspective that is an agreement. Smith thinks it isn’t because the league wouldn’t turn over their evidence to the NFLPA. However, the March 14th letter in which the Pash informs the NFLPA that there was no basis to delay the discipline “especially with regard to discipline of the club and non-player employees,” lends creedence to the point that the NFL was ready to discipline the players on M<arch 21 but between the 14th and 21st decided to hold off in deference the the NFLPA letter of the 17th, specifically becasue the NFLPA represents the players but not the non-players involved.

    Seems to me that takes a lot of steam out of the Vilma defamtion suit given the judge''s prior comments.

  45. mrlaloosh says: Aug 17, 2012 2:45 PM

    Geniusfan, you really need to change your username. Federal judges are appointed, not elected. The voters of Louisiana have no dog in this fight.
    She is appointed for LIFE!

  46. brenenostler says: Aug 17, 2012 2:46 PM

    staugslugga says:
    Aug 17, 2012 1:41 PM
    They didn’t have a bounty system. If they get wrongfully punished for something they didn’t do, it’s just plain wrong.
    _______________________

    Then please explain this statement from Gregg Williams.

    I’d like to again apologize wholeheartedly to the NFL, Coach [Jeff] Fisher, the entire Rams organization and all football fans for my actions,” he said in a written statement. “Furthermore, I apologize to the players of the NFL for my involvement as it is not a true reflection of my values as a father or coach, nor is it reflective of the great respect I have for this game and its core principle of sportsmanship.

    “I accept full responsibility for my actions. I highly value the 23 years that I’ve spent in the NFL. I will continue to cooperate fully with the league and its investigation and I will focus my energies on serving as an advocate for both player safety and sportsmanship. I will do everything possible to re-earn the respect of my colleagues, the NFL and its players in hopes of returning to coaching in the future.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/football-insider/post/nfl-bounty-penalties-sean-payton-gregg-williams-mickey-loomis-suspended/2012/03/21/gIQAJHd0RS_blog.html

  47. upperdecker19 says: Aug 17, 2012 2:50 PM

    Drew Brees appreciates this explaination.

  48. sb44champs says: Aug 17, 2012 2:51 PM

    r0b1b0y says:
    Aug 17, 2012 2:24 PM
    “Maybe there was a bounty program and maybe there wasn’t, all I know is that there is one side that wants all the facts on the table and another side doing everything it can to keep the facts from coming to light. Regardless of what I believed before, this all makes me very suspicious of Goodell and the league office. What are they trying to keep hidden? Why? What else is he hiding? Can we trust this man going forward?”
    —————————————-
    …now everyone is starting to come around ;-)

  49. musicman495 says: Aug 17, 2012 2:51 PM

    brenenostler says: Aug 17, 2012 2:08 PM

    Ok, it seems to me that Goodell knew before March 21 that he was going to punish the players at some point. He just didn’t know to what extent. The NFLPA sent a request to Goodell to delay the punishments until they investigated more. And he did. So it doesn’t seem to me like he did anything wrong.
    —————————————
    As I understand it, the question is whether, when the NFL announced the delay on March 21, they had already completed the investigation and made the decision on the guilt or innocence of the players. If so, no problem. If not, the judge could rule that when the NFL announced the delay – and said they were already prepared to discipline the players – they acted outside the Commissioner’s powers to do what was necessary to discipline the players as outlined in the CBA, and potentially defamed Vilma and the others by publicly declaring their guilt before the decision was made.

  50. qdog112 says: Aug 17, 2012 2:52 PM

    daysend564 says: Aug 17, 2012 1:54 PM

    Fujita has lied every step of the way. Why stop now?
    **********************************
    The fact is that Fujita hasn’t even been involved in the process, “every step of the way”.

    However, you may substitute his name this way, Goodell has lied every step of the way. Why stop now?

  51. gtodriver says: Aug 17, 2012 3:01 PM

    staugslugga says:

    “They didn’t have a bounty system.”

    [b]Judge Berrigan, from Louisiana, has determined that they did.[/b]

    If your hometown judge agrees that there was a bounty system, then it’s pretty obvious to any intelligent person that there was a bounty system.

    Saints fans/apologists/bobo’s – it’s time to stop denying the truth.

    There was a bounty system in place, the management, coaching staff and players lied about it and got caught.

    Management and coaching staff have all accepted their penalties without any lawsuits.

    Only the players are acting like children and refusing to take responsibility for their actions.

  52. lafayettesaint says: Aug 17, 2012 3:02 PM

    Hey Roger, If you have all this evidence, why don’t you show it? First it was 50,000 pages, then 20,000 pages and then all you could show the players was 200 and even that didn’t show what you want to prove.

  53. cosmoman11 says: Aug 17, 2012 3:02 PM

    Mr. Goodell, you must be very proud to know that peoples’ opinion of you is so low that they believe you would perjur yourself just to CYA.

  54. geniusfan says: Aug 17, 2012 3:11 PM

    So what if she is there for life? She lives in the state and most likely knows a large majority of Saints fans who want this biased ruling.


    Then please explain this statement from Gregg Williams.

    I’d like to again apologize wholeheartedly to the NFL, Coach [Jeff] Fisher, the entire Rams organization and all football fans for my actions,” he said in a written statement. “Furthermore, I apologize to the players of the NFL for my involvement as it is not a true reflection of my values as a father or coach, nor is it reflective of the great respect I have for this game and its core principle of sportsmanship.

    “I accept full responsibility for my actions. I highly value the 23 years that I’ve spent in the NFL. I will continue to cooperate fully with the league and its investigation and I will focus my energies on serving as an advocate for both player safety and sportsmanship. I will do everything possible to re-earn the respect of my colleagues, the NFL and its players in hopes of returning to coaching in the future.””

    You Saints fans are in denial Greg Williams has admitted that there was a bounty program.

  55. mrfoozball says: Aug 17, 2012 3:15 PM

    To all the naysayers (and haters) that truly don’t understand what’s going on here, I would hate to do jury duty with you.

  56. daveman8403 says: Aug 17, 2012 3:42 PM

    would people stop posting an NFL written apology, that doesn’t even mention bounties or pay-for-injury, as proof. (they didn’t like william’s original apology so wrote a new one and made him sign it) . William’s and payton’s suspension letters are a essentially a gag order. they stated speaking about the sistuation could lengthen suspensions.

  57. chief0727 says: Aug 17, 2012 3:51 PM

    Once the toothpaste is out of the tube—it can’t go back. Someone here is lying. I don’t really care whether it is Goodell or Smith. I just hope the court comes down HARD on whomever is perjuring themselves. This story is stale as 3 week old bread. I can’t wait for this to be settled and done with.

  58. mancave001 says: Aug 17, 2012 3:52 PM

    I dispute that any one cares anymore.

  59. LoCoSu@%s says: Aug 17, 2012 4:05 PM

    Time for Goodell to say – ‘Ima so screwed’

  60. houndog50 says: Aug 17, 2012 4:10 PM

    It’s soooooooo simple! If Goodell produces and displays the evidence he CLAIMS to have, this entire process ends! Once the evidence has been made public the players won’t have a leg to stand on, so what’s the problem Roger? Show us the evidence Roger! I’m all for punishments for guilty people, even including the “crime” of lying to you Roger! But those who live in glass houses……………………

  61. pobreezy says: Aug 17, 2012 4:21 PM

    brenenostler says:
    Then please explain this statement from Gregg Williams.

    “I’d like to again apologize wholeheartedly to the NFL, Coach [Jeff] Fisher, the entire Rams organization and all football fans for my actions,” he said in a written statement. “Furthermore, I apologize to the players of the NFL for my involvement as it is not a true reflection of my values as a father or coach, nor is it reflective of the great respect I have for this game and its core principle of sportsmanship.

    “I accept full responsibility for my actions. I highly value the 23 years that I’ve spent in the NFL. I will continue to cooperate fully with the league and its investigation and I will focus my energies on serving as an advocate for both player safety and sportsmanship. I will do everything possible to re-earn the respect of my colleagues, the NFL and its players in hopes of returning to coaching in the future.”
    ————————————————-
    I fail to see any mention of a “Bounty” in there.
    This argument is used often but is also often misquoted. Pay for performance is also illegal so they apologized for their involvement. Everyone uses this as proof that the allegations originally pinned to the Saints are true. That yes they went after certain players with intent to injure.
    Now that we know this not to be true I find it amusing that the same people quote this, when even Goodell is not claiming that is what happened.

  62. puppylovenyc says: Aug 17, 2012 4:28 PM

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely. History has shown us this time and again. Every position of power should have checks and balances.

    The temptation to think that your every decision is perfect is just too great. /soapbox

    The NFL needs to put its evidence on the table now. Put an end to this now. Everyone is sick of hearing about it.

  63. dgbountyhunter says: Aug 17, 2012 4:36 PM

    The fact that most of you deniers have no defense to stand on other than conspiracy theories says alot about your intelligence. Gag orders, NFL written apologies, Goodell smear campaign. Get out the tinfoil hats.

  64. woodworthbayoutiger says: Aug 17, 2012 4:52 PM

    It’s clear to anyone following law, as a hobby or profession, that Goodell in trying to keep the pandora box closed on bounties (and that all teams do it according to many player comments) may have opened the Sherman Anti-Trust pandora box instead.

    Perhaps in thier haste to keep the issue closed they have made one or two or too many loose comments that are now going to come back to them since the players feel empowered to stand up in court.

    Obvious isnt’ it that a player who is suspended for a year has very little to lose by following the challenge all the way to the end while the league on the other hand doesnt want that at all.

  65. daveman8403 says: Aug 17, 2012 4:56 PM

    The NFL did write William’s apology. That is not made up. The suspension letters sent to Illiams and Payton DO say further discussion could result in further suspensions. No one is claiming conspiracy. those are just facts.

  66. ajpurp says: Aug 17, 2012 6:22 PM

    I don’t know who is right here and who is telling the truth, but whoever said this is normal for judges to do, especially federal judges, then you don’t know the process. State judges do this all the time, but when a federal judge is attempting to obtain a settlement out of the parties they NEVER throw their opinion into the situation or for which party they are trying to find in favor of, it skews the entire negotiation process and shows obvious partiality because she has not even come close to seeing or hearing all evidence yet, as ALL parties ALWAYS give away as LITTLE as they can during pre trial hearings in case it goes to trial. Moreover, unless there was an in camera review of ALL evidence a judge should never state they are trying their hardest to find for a particular party because, once again, it skews the entire process. Whoever is saying this judge is impartial is not aware of the federal system. They might tell a party their feelings but in no way do they admit on the record they are trying to rest a ruling on some type of legal foundation, that’s simply ridiculous for a federal judge to do.

  67. phloorioisanarcissist says: Aug 18, 2012 3:58 AM

    It will be so great when the dust has settled from this in the far away future and all the evidence comes out right in the Saints and all their fans faces…

    Of course, it won’t matter much to Saint fans, as no matter how black and white you paint the picture, they will still see what they want to see.

    Congratulations Mike on continuing to stir up more controversy on your website to draw more hits from us petty fans.

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