Vitt says Benson kicked NFL security chief “off the property”


The bounty case essentially is over, but bits and pieces of evidence continue to surface.

More than a few bits and pieces have come from the disclosure of a significant portion of the appeal hearing testimony from former Saints interim head coach and current linebackers coach Joe Vitt.

Among many other things, Vitt’s testimony before former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue sheds light on some of the contentious aspects of the relationship between the league office and the organization.  Vitt says that, at one point, Saints owner Tom Benson told NFL V.P. of security Jeff Miller to leave the premises.

“Jeff Miller took a plane ride from New York down to New Orleans, and the way he talked to our owner, what he said to our owner made me want to throw up, to the point where Mr. Benson kicked him off the property and didn’t let him back on the property,” Vitt said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

“This almost killed our owner.  Our owner has done nothing but be a great owner in the National Football League the whole time he’s been in the league. . . .  And now this guy takes a plane ride down and throws some documents in front of our owner’s face, and our owner has got to kick him out of the building?  That’s what we’re dealing with.  That’s fine.”

Vitt also explained that, even though notes generated by former Saints assistant Mike Cerullo indicated that Vitt had offered $5,000 to the alleged bounty on former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, Miller didn’t believe it happened.

“The investigators, Jeff Miller in particular, acknowledged that I did not give any money to a bounty because he said to me, you know, we heard that your wife is so cheap that you have a hard time getting lunch money every day,” Vitt said.  “That was his comment to me.  And I said, well, your wife must have a pretty good sense of humor, too, with the clothes you’re wearing right now.”

Vitt also had some strong comments for Cerullo.

“Mike Cerullo is a liar,” Vitt said. “We’ll get some notes here from Mr. Cerullo. I’ll say this to you, Commissioner, and anybody that’s interested. I’m taking Mike Cerullo to court.  I’m going to sue his ass for the things he said about me, the things he said about this football team.  He’s going to be held accountable for everything he said. I make this offer again.  If we want me to take a lie detector test this afternoon, I will do so.  Or if you want me to do it tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon, I will do so. Mike Cerullo is a liar.  A liar.”

Vitt also talked at length regarding coach Sean Payton’s decision after the 2011 season to part ways with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.  Payton began to sour on Williams after the head coach caught Williams texting draft picks to the media during the 2011 selection process.

“I would say the final straw was the last two weeks of the season,” Vitt said.  “Gregg kept coming to Sean every day and wanted his contract extension and wanted his extension done.  And Sean said, well, we’ll talk about it at the end of the season, well knowing what direction Sean was going in.  And the last week of the season, it’s all in the papers, you know, Gregg has gone to St. Louis, it’s his best friend Jeff Fisher, you know, ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom, trying to squeeze Sean, trying to squeeze Mickey to get his contract.  And the day after the playoff game that we lost against San Francisco, he went into Sean’s office and says I need to know right now, I need my contract, I’ve got to let Jeff know what I’m doing.  And Sean said, you’re not going to get a contract here.  I think it’s best go to St. Louis with your friend Jeff. And that was it. . . .  It didn’t end pretty. It didn’t end nice.”

There isn’t much nice or pretty about Vitt’s testimony, but it’s compelling and interesting and he has the kind of passion that typically is exhibited by a guy who has been accused of things he didn’t do.

45 responses to “Vitt says Benson kicked NFL security chief “off the property”

  1. The more I read the more I’m interested in these testimonies, I’d love to read the whole transcripts. This Mike Cerullo guy seems like a basket case.

  2. So you guys take my posts off of here when I say douchbag, but noring4youstill can say he wants Roger G shot and you post it, Put the Hukka down Florio

  3. Vitt’s entire testimony is extremely compelling. He really sounds like a guy desperate for the real truth to come out…a truth that is not what the NFL sold us. One quote I like from Vitt is that “we are being punished for the spoken word not the clenched fist.” He then notes that the spoken word was wrong, but there was never any intent to injure.

  4. It’s a shame we didn’t get any details like this on Spygate. That seemed to get sweeped under the rug pretty quickly.

    I guess that’s what happens when your owner is good friends with the commissioner.

    Nice job Goodell.

  5. Vitt sounds believable. Bountygate suspensions should have been about half of what Goddell handed down. Payton didn’t deserve the full season penalty. Overall, Tagliabue proved NFL case was shaky at best. Goddell was power hungry and went too far. Nobody ended up winning in the end.

  6. “I couldn’t believe that the body of work that these men had just done on the field, and they had just been crowned world champions, that someone was going to come in here and try to take away what they had done, what they had worked so hard to accomplish, based on the body of work that was placed on the playing field. So I know we got a defensive coordinator that’s talking crazy in meetings. I understand that. But we’re the least penalized team in football in ’09 when we won the world championship. I think we were the fourth or fifth most penalized team in the National Football League.

    “Now, to date, to date, OK, as we sit here right now, 2012, from 2009-2012, if you played 30 other teams in the National Football League, your chances of getting hurt are a hell of a lot more than playing us, because that’s where we rank right now, 31st in the National Football League since ’06 in our opponents having catastrophic or game-ending or game-ending or week-ending or multiple week-ending injuries, OK? Thirty other teams hurt their opponents more than we do. So I was kind of shocked with the way we play, the amount of penalties that we don’t have, how people are getting hurt against us, why all of a sudden is this becoming an issue?

  7. “This almost killed our owner. Our owner has done nothing but be a great owner in the National Football League the whole time he’s been in the league. . . .”

    I have no particular bias toward each side, but I do remember Benson trying very hard to leave New Orleans after Katrina. Doesn’t sound too nice to me.

  8. When are you going to file this lawsuit Vitt? When? When you’re done helping OJ track down the real culprits from his case?

  9. If Vitt truly sues Cerullo it’ll be interesting to read those depos and you know those bad boys will get leaked…interesting on Williams/Fisher…seems Williams torched that relationship you didn’t hear his name come up while he was looking for a DC

  10. Intriguing loose end: this information is regarding statements made quite a while ago. Has Vitt actually taken any legal action against Cerullo since then?

  11. Hoping a man gets shot in a bar in your town is classless, even for New Orleans’ fans.

    And Vitt acting like Benson is beyond reproach is just a bunch of butt-kissing.
    Tom Benson will fire your butt just like any other owner and not blink twice.

  12. I’d be more likely to believe this guy if, in fact, he does sue Cerullo(spelling?) Otherwise his words are nothing more than the same played out rhetoric we’ve heard from the jump.

  13. Vitt sounds like an ogre. He also looks like one, so I can only assume he smells and acts like one too. He should start his own team with Williams in LA.

  14. No wonder this country has so many tragedies with children being massacred, and movie theatre shootings…. Douche bag saint fans saying they hope Roger Goodell get’s shot down there.. You should be ashamed of yourself.. I hope that your IP address gets traced, and you end up in jail.

    Some people just don’t get it, never have, and never will. You idiots wonder why nobody likes new orleans? Idiots like that give your whole city a bad name! WOW… Can’t believe you would stoop that low to wish that on someone, but yeah, new orleans really is the underbelly of society, so it really shouldn’t surprise me!

  15. The truth always comes out in the aftermath, when key individuals are free to talk without worry of retribution…in this case, retribution from Roger Goodell and the NFL.

    This was a case that Roger Goodell should never have pushed to this level. He could have better addressed his concerns internally, between the league and Saints management.

    Instead, Roger was looking for a trophy to hang on his wall that would prove how dedicated the NFL is when it comes to player safety.

    With the upcoming concussion litigation, Roger wanted to be able to point to the Saints bounty case and say “see, it is the players fault” that concussions have become a serious health issue for the NFL.

    The idea of fining players for the way they tackle did not happen until word came out that the NFL had withheld concussion information from it’s players, dating back decades.

    The NFL realized that lawsuits would be filed and were trying to portray the NFL as being more sympathetic to the concussion issue.

    In short, Bountygate was a PR mission pursued by Goodell and the NFL.

    Just as the fines are a terrible idea, so too was the NFL’s Bountygate case.

  16. Why doesn’t Vitt just shut his mouth and be happy he is not in jail. All the Commish needs to do is leak the video of him stealing Vicodin from the Training Room.

  17. I’d like to see the entire transcript of that hearing. Cause these tidbits are a hell of a lot more compelling than any of the 50,000 pages of evidence the NFL said they had and never produced.

  18. “There isn’t much nice or pretty about Vitt’s testimony, but it’s compelling and interesting and he has the kind of passion that typically is exhibited by a guy who has been accused of things he didn’t do.”

    In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” the phrase “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” seems pertinent to Vitt’s statement. He’s whining like a little girl…

    Lots of guilty people proclaim their innocence. Doesn’t mean they are innocent.

    I’m still waiting for Benson to release the results of the investigation that he paid for. But then, why would he want to further incriminate his own team?

  19. Geez Louise, the NFL keeps looking worser and worser.

    I wonder why?

    MacBull seems to have hit the nail on the head.

  20. Flacco thought it was retarded.

    …figure I can say that since you inconsistent mods leave a comment that comes from someone who says he hopes Godell gets shot in NO…..look up.

  21. I’m a die hard Saints fan, but noring4you should be tracked down and do serious jail time. Who but a crazy would say they want someone shot even if that someone is RG.

  22. Everyone on here has got to be a complete idiot if they believe the Saints had nothing to do with bounties etc. The league just closed it’s eyes and threw a dart and it happened to hit Saints so the league went after them, right? The league wanted to start a mess where there wasn’t one, just for… laughs? PR stunt? People please.

  23. Thank you, Mr. Florio! I am now a huge Vitt fan! What you people are reading is a small section provided by nola’s website. Read the entire thing. Its not the whole thing, but there’s a lot more than what’s posted here. Two articles worth. It takes a while to read. I read all of it.
    The exchange between Vitt & Mary Jo White, even edited, is brilliant.

    Btw, Captain Shakespear… When you’ve heard the attacks on you and your friends & coworkers for a year in the media, and you finally get a chance to tell your side, you’re going to protest. But Vitt didn’t whine, he went off!!

  24. @nyjalleffingday…. You’re partially correct. Benson wanted to move the organization BEFORE Katrina and then tried to use the disaster to his advantage and try AGAIN. That seems to have been lost to history. Benson is not a stand up guy. I’m happy that Saints fans got to keep their team, but to see this guy achieve sainthood (no pun intended) through this ordeal is what is truly sickening.

    As for the bounty stuff… As far as I’m concerned it has run its course. I’m done with it. Let us all now move forward.

  25. clownsfan says:
    Jan 30, 2013 5:52 AM
    I’d be more likely to believe this guy if, in fact, he does sue Cerullo(spelling?) Otherwise his words are nothing more than the same played out rhetoric we’ve heard from the jump.

    The NFL is already on record as paying Cerullo’s legal fees. Therefore, if Vitt takes legal action against Cerullo, he’d likely be taking on the NFL’s resources. Guess who’d have a huge advantage there?

    Which begs the question, if the NFL is interested in an honest investiagtion, why hire an “independent prosecutor” that was paid by the NFL and why pay the legal fees of someone that was a witness…and proved to be a horrible one at that?

  26. How am I going to do jail time? I’m not going to shoot Roger. And trying to blame me is no different than looking to blame Hollywood or music for violence. So you bunch of pansies keep getting your panties in wads. I’m not and would not harm your beloved commish. And jail time? I never said I would. I said I hope. Big effing difference. You jack wagon.

  27. Well if the mods on this site are as politically correct as they sure act, they have that guys ip address and have reported it to the NFL, and local police.

    I’ve never threatened anyone on this site. Sure, don’t like most packer fans, and disagree with about 80% of the jargon that comes out of their fingertips, but would never threaten anyone. But yet, my comments get taken down.. That guy who wrote that comment should be prosecuted to the full length!

    Perfect example of why society has gotten worse over the years. People seem to think “shooting” someone is the fix for all of the problems.

    You don’t like what Roger handed out to your favorite team, well, email the NFL, tell them about your displeasure and how some of the rule changes are making this the Flag Football League. But also understand that players today are stronger, faster, more gifted athletes. And at some point this sport is going to become extremely dangerous. And you could quite possibly see no insurance company want to even touch an athlete. No matter what their premiums are for health insurance. But don’t ever threaten someone! It’s disgusting to even think that someone would threaten a person over something like this.

    I feel sorry for the guy that accidentally runs over your dog or cat. Or the first kid that plays a prank on your child at school or the park or playground. Buddy, you need help! And i pray for your family, friends, and neighbors, and anyone that’s close to you, that you do get help.

  28. Just to be clear.

    Noring4youstill’s comments do not reflect the beliefs and wishes of 99.9% of Saints fans.

    Please don’t hold his ignorant comments against us. I’m mad at Goodell but to wish him any physical is absolutely ridiculous a d disgusting.

  29. 4thqtrsaint says:

    “Btw, Captain Shakespear… When you’ve heard the attacks on you and your friends & coworkers for a year in the media, and you finally get a chance to tell your side, you’re going to protest. But Vitt didn’t whine, he went off!!”

    They weren’t attacks – they were reporting on the Saints documented bounty program.

    It wasn’t just Goodell that said there was a bounty program…

    Taglabue said there was a bounty program.

    The judge in LA said there was a bounty program.

    Payton and Loomis took accountability for the bounty program.

    Tom Benson spend his own money to investigate the bounty program and hasn’t released a single piece of evidence to contradict that there was, in fact, a bounty program.

    But Joe Vitt is still whining that there wasn’t.

    I’ll believe the team owner, the HC, the GM, the judge, the former commissioner and the current commissioner before I’ll believe a guy that got caught participating in the bounty program and was rightfully suspended for his actions.

  30. Unfortunately lie detector tests can’t even be used or submitted as evidence in court so Vitt’s offer to take one doesn’t mean squat. Just the way he talks makes it seem like he can lie to himself that they DIDN’T do anything wrong.

    To be honest, something doesn’t sound right. For Miller to come in and start treating a billionare owner like crap is just fishy.

  31. “Our owner has done nothing but be a great owner in the National Football League the whole time he’s been in the league.”
    Vitt’s memory must be bad, after Katrina Benson did all he could to move the Saints to San Antonio, is that what a great owner does?

  32. I’m a native New Orleanian and Saints fan. I love our city and team. Noring 4 you are a complete MORON for making a comment like that. The person that wrote you should be tracked down and arrested is right on the money, if I were the law I might just look at that as a possible threat. Thank heaven that most of us here do not think like you do!!

  33. My dog got ran over. I wasn’t upset. Well upset that I had to bury my dog. Difference is I can make a comment and I’m not going to act on it. Because I am a sane human. You jack offs meanwhile are what’s wrong with US. I made a simple comment joking to say the least and here comes the wha wha patrol. Bitches.

  34. People…

    The Saints obviously were trying to hurt Brett Favre in that game.

    Favre got blasted 3-4 seconds after handing the football off…

    On. A. Running. Play.

    I’ve never seen cheap shots like that before at any level of football. That’s the kid of thing that pretty much had to be endorsed from the top down in the Saints organization.

    So Payton, Vitt and Benson can circle the wagons all they want, point fingers and deny it till their blue in the face but it isn’t going to change the fact that every single non-Saints fan that watched that game knew what was up.

    The real story though remains largely not discussed. The refs essentially handed the Saints that game on a silver platter.

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