NFL has given only limited bounty evidence to NFLPA

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As the legal battle between the NFL and the NFLPA launches, with the players initially trying to steer the appeals of the suspensions of Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, and Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove away from Commissioner Roger Goodell, nagging questions remain regarding the quality of the league’s evidence that players funded a pool that was intended to pay other players who inflicted injury on opponents — and that players actually received money for inflicting injury on opponents.  Specific proof in this regard has yet to be made available to the media and the public, or more importantly to the NFLPA.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the union has had limited access to information establishing player guilt.  Specifically, the NFLPA has received the March 2 “confidential” report of NFL Security (which promptly was leaked to the media by one or more teams), the March 21 announcement of discipline upon the Saints, coach Sean Payton, G.M. Mickey Loomis, assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt, and former Saints (now Rams) defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and roughly 20 Power Point slides that were shown, but not given, to union representatives at a meeting to discuss the situation.  (The media, and in turn the public, has had access to everything but the Power Point slides.)

At some point, the NFL must disclose all information to the NFLPA, including the precise basis for the factual conclusions the league has reached.  It’s not enough to provide summaries of evidence; the league must identify for the NFLPA how it knows what it knows, and that evidence must be subject to scrutiny, via cross-examination or otherwise.

Earlier this week, NFL “independent” counsel Mary Jo White carefully sidestepped questions regarding whether witnesses who supplied information to the league will testify at the coming appeal hearings, and whether the NFL will even disclose their identities to the NFLPA.  Again, there’s a fundamental difference between protecting a whistleblower and affording due process to persons accused of wrongdoing.  While it’s important to encourage persons with knowledge to come forward by protecting them from retaliation, it’s equally important to ensure that the information provided by such persons can be tested.  Eventually, a whistleblower must become a witness, or true justice cannot be done.

That’s not to say the players are entitled to the full range of Constitutional rights, including the right to confront accusers.  After all, this is a private, quasi-judicial process involvement employment rights.  Whether Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone else resolves the appeals, the players aren’t “on trial” in the classic sense.

Still, they have a fundamental right:  (1) to know the specific factual basis for the conclusions that have been made; and (2) to scrutinize and challenge those facts.  By providing all witnesses with the kind of protection that, ironically, the league failed to give Jeremy Shockey, the NFL necessarily fails to provide the players with a fair opportunity to defend their reputations and their incomes.

For now, there are only conclusions offered unilaterally by the league.  Those conclusions can’t be tested unless the NFL discloses the facts on which those conclusions were based to the NFLPA.  Whether or not those facts exist (and the NFL surely believes they do), it’s wrong to conceal them from the NFLPA.

60 responses to “NFL has given only limited bounty evidence to NFLPA

  1. its seems pretty likely that the league is trying to protect its informants, probably for good reason. whoever named names would probably have a really rough time with teammates. safety first after all.

  2. Admit it; you really miss being a lawyer, don’t you Mike.

    This isn’t a court of law. The league has complete authority and autonomy over the players, and owes no evidence of a single thing to either the league or the NFLPA, or anyone else.

    Gooddell has the authority to investigate – which he did – and to evalute what is found – which he did – and determine the guilt or innocence of any and all parties – which he did. Then he has the authority to hand down punishment – which he did – and even has the power to hear appeals of his own decisions – which he’s done in some cases, and is going to do in the others.

    If Gooddell determined that the Saints organization and the Saints players were indeed in violation by forming and executing a “bounty” system, then only HE needs to view the evidence. He owes that proof to NO ONE else, he ANSWERS to no one else.

    If the union doesn’t like him having all this power, they shouldn’t have signed the new CBA – which they DID.

    The Saints may not like it, the players may not like it, the union may not like it, the media may not like it, and the fans may not like it.

    Too effin’ bad.

    The tape of Gregg Williams is out there.

    Hawthorne’s confession is out there.

    The Saints players, organization, and fans wouldn’t be happy with ANY evidence anyway, as they continue to deny what is plainly obvious to everyone outside of New Orleans.

    The Saints won their lone title not by out-playing their opponents, but by physically ELIMINATING them.

    Their Super Bowl, whether Roger Gooddell says so or not, is the most TAINTED championship in all sports since the Chicago Black Sox, and ought to have a HUGE asterick placed beside it.

    Roger Gooddell went EASY on the Saints, without a doubt!

  3. What would it take for the NFLPA to concede that the burden of proof has been met and the players involved deserve their punishments?

    I don’t believe it will ever happen. Just like the tests for PEDs last year. They will just keep asking for more proof and say they aren’t satisfied and have unanswered questions. What would they ever benefit from admitting wrong doing? Honor? Dignity? Respecting the process and the greater good?

    Nah, not worth it.

  4. The official PFT stance on whistleblower protection and the stated idea that whistleblowers must eventually become witnesses are necessarily in conflict. You simply cannot have it both ways. What good is protecting a whistleblower only up until the point that the accused face punishment?

  5. While I understand all of the stuff regarding accused and accuser I think that applies to a trial. In this instance it is the NFL. It looks like Williams and some players have given testimony directly accusing players in participating in the bounty. If the whistleblowers have any hope of coaching/playing again in the NFL, their testimony has to be protected. I think NFLPA knows this and wants names. Especially the coaches. Maybe as a bargaining chip to reduce the penalties.

  6. Doesn’t the new CBA prevent Goodell from disciplining players for actions that occurred under the old CBA?

  7. hey pftcesnsorsucks… in your mom’s basement must really be bad for you…or either your walmart job….or both….you are truly a bottom feeder jealous saints hater….

  8. Anyone actually listen to the Saints defensive players tak about this? They don’t really claim that it didnt happen they are just cryin that there isnt any “proof”. Well, im sure there were no credit card receipts, but confessions from multiple people who have no reason to lie is all Godell needs… Not necessarily a money trail like they would need in a court of law. Get over it… You’ve been busted

  9. If the commissioner has the responsibility to inform the players association as to the evidence he found, then the players association also has the responsibility to keep that information confidential and not turn it over to the press or post it on twitter.
    Maybe this is why Goodell has not shared more info with the players assoc. They dont know how to keep their mouths shut.

  10. @pftcensorssuck, are you freaking kidding me? The Saints won their title by eliminating opponents? What players did they eliminate in 2009? The answer is nobody. They won the title that year with the highest scoring offense in the league and a defense that was second (by 1) in turnovers.

    This situation is not black and white. No Saints players have denied that there was a “pay for performance” system, rewarding big plays. Many have come forward to confirm it was in place, and Greg Williams’ confession* (which was prepared for him by the league) admits only a “pay for performance” system, not a bounty program. Payton and Loomis have accepted responsibility for whatever has happened on their watch, but they have not admitted to the accusations of a bounty program. If the league had only accused the team of running a “pay for performance” system, and punished the team accordingly, even Saints fans would find that fair.

    But the league is accusing the team and it’s players of intentionally trying to hurt opposing players and providing payment for doing so, and doing so for three years even while warned to stop it. If this were even the slightest bit true, don’t you think at least one former player would have come forward to say that he was shocked at what he saw going on?

  11. For those that accept Goodell’s words at face value, I feel sorry for you. Know this: Goodell has an agenda and he lies (everytime he states that “fans want an 18 game season” consider all the polls that suggest the opposite). Eventually it could be your team that is in his crossfire.

    After following this over the last couple of months and connecting the dots I think the following is likely what happened (for those that are open to the idea that Goodell’s version may not be totally accurate, consider the narrative below):

    Going back to 2009, the “pay for perfomance” pool for turnovers and big defensive plays came in to being sometime over the season, which included a 13-0 start with lots of big defensive plays. The playoffs arrive, the team is coming off 3 losses, Williams decides to step things up, comes up with the locker room ploy to have Vilma offer a $10000 fake bounty for Cardinals game (a fake bounty vs. “real” bounties — recall Drew Brees questioning the proof of “real” bounties).

    Williams has Vilma do it again for the Vikings. Vikings complain that the Saints hit Farve too hard, and Tony Hargrove relates something to another player about the locker room gag that gets out and causes the league to investigate. The Saints say there is no bounty program (which there is not, only a locker room gag), Payton tells Williams to find better motivational methods, and everything goes away. Until late in the 2011 season, when someone says something to the league that causes them to reopen the investigation.

    The league asks Benson for all team emails, which Benson provides willingly, as the team didn’t feel it had anything to hide. However, two emails from Mike Ornstein to Payton, including what both men say were jokes about “$5000 for Rodgers” and “$5000 for Newton” (probably inside jokes in reference to the “bounties” from the playoff games) are turned up in the investigation. Considering Ornstein was in prison in Colorado at the time of the first email and in a halfway house at the time of the second, and had financial troubles to boot, it would be hard to read them as serious offers of payment.

    But the emails give Goodell his smoking gun, and he is able to get others to corroberate the “pay for perfomance” pool, which he links to the “bounties” placed on Warner, Favre, Rodgers and Newton (even though in the case of Rodgers and Newton, nothing has been presented to suggest that Ornstein’s email comments made it past Payton, if he even read the emails). Instead of just being a motivational gag used for two games, this suddenly becomes a systemic bounty program stretching from 2009-2011 that involves Payton and people outside the organization.

    Before the Lions game the league tells the Saints to discontinue “bounties,” which the Saints say aren’t going on, viewing bounty allegations as distinct from the locker room big play pool. The league views them as identical, so when the Saints say there are no bounties (as in bounties are not being placed on players), the league says they are still going on and that the team is lying and disregarded direct instructions from Benson to discontinue any bounty activities.

    Saints coaches are interviewed, eventually Williams admits to a locker room “pay for performance” program (an admission that is twisted and framed into an admission of bounties), and Payton and Loomis accept responsibility for whatever has happened on their watch (also twisted into an admission of bounties).

    So the rest we know — Goodell hammers the team, whose only recourse is to appeal back to Goodell. Loomis and the coaches know they “can’t fight city hall” and rolled over and accepted the punishments, but thankfully the players are fighting back.

  12. It’s mind boggling how many people just accept what the NFL (Goodell) says as fact and don’t want to see or hear the evidence. The NFL is a business that is completely driven by the fans. Therefore, while this may not be an official trial, it is in the best interest of the NFL to identify what kind of evidence they have. They don’t have to name names, but at least explain how they “know” what they know. Without that, many of us “fans” feel as though Goodell is simply doing whatever he wants. I, for one, hate dictators and that is what Goodell looks like at this time. By changing the rules to the point where contact is almost taken out of the game, by taking cap money from the Cowboys and Redskins when no rules where broken and now by suspending players without providing an explanation of how it was “proven” that they participated in a pay for injury system, he is sending the message that it’s his way or else. I also don’t like how he is grouping all bounty programs into one and not separating the pay-for-injury vs. pay-for-performance bounties. These types of unclear decisions without proper proof are not in the best interest of the league long-term. The league has to provide better information on why these things are done or fans will leave and THAT is something the NFL doesn’t need.

  13. There are a couple of things I don’t understand about this whole thing – A.) Outside of setting precedent, how does the NFLPA justify defending 3 out of its nearly 1,700 players when these 3 players were out to hinder the careers of a large number of the remaining players? Aaron Rodgers is in the players union, as is Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, etc. By vehemently defending Vilma and co. they are, in essence, going against those players. It just seems like the the union is almost cannibalizing itself here.

    B.) As popular as the NFL is, it’s a private business. Usually what a boss decides is what goes. Wouldn’t it hold true that they have far less rights than they are being given by the media? It seems they are behind the eight ball when it comes to this punishment.

  14. “What would it take for the NFLPA to concede that the burden of proof has been met and the players involved deserve their punishments?”

    What would it take? They can start with something … anything. As of 6:45PM CDT on May 5, they have offered NOTHING. No evidence of any kind. They’ve made statements backed up by nothing.

  15. Rodger Goodell is a scumbag who punishes innocent players. He is just like the police and justice system except that when people who are proven innocent (like Big Ben) still get punished anyway. Its only a matter of time before he punishes one of my chiefs just because someone said they did something wrong, but no proof is found and after they are proven innocent he will still punish them anyway. He is a no good Mitt Romney supporting facist nazi. Because he punishes the innocent

  16. witnesses or independent sources can lie and defame a persons character doesn’t make it true..witnesses could’ve been paid off to lie and say a bounty program existed…those witnesses will be cross examined in court from nflpa lawyer…too much he say/she say from the nfl…the pay for performance and not bounty program didn’t exist for 3yrs, it was only for a few games in that time frame…too many holes with nfl evidence

  17. Has everyone forgot that some of the prestigious members of the NFLPA are actually from the Saints?? Yeah he’ll just hand that info over to Mr. Brees and Co. and because that organization has been so honest and forthcoming up to now that he will just have to trust them to not say anything to anyone outside of those walls. Yeah right………

  18. And as a niner fan I feel sort of used by the fact that we have members of the NFLPA also so what happens to them? They are just supposed to roll over and take it right? They are just supposed to pretend like they along with Aaron Rodgers were not targeted and they are supposed to defend these hooligans?? Whatever man….I say take your punishment and start the 2012-2013 season or in some cases maybe 2013-2014 season.

  19. I’d like to see some evidence. I’m not a Saints fan nor do I condone any such activity if it takes place. I do, however, believe that no one should be punished for anything if they werent involved. So far, all the NFL has submitted is their opinion, their judgment and the punishment. I have seen plenty of irate fans and plenty of finger pointing. What I havent seen is any video that doesnt look like a million other hits I have seen from every team while watching sunday night highlights. I guess a mans Rights arent protected if the NFL decides something.

  20. crazybeardedjack says:May 5, 2012 7:34 PM

    There are a couple of things I don’t understand about this whole thing – A.) Outside of setting precedent, how does the NFLPA justify defending 3 out of its nearly 1,700 players when these 3 players were out to hinder the careers of a large number of the remaining players? Aaron Rodgers is in the players union, as is Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, etc. By vehemently defending Vilma and co. they are, in essence, going against those players. It just seems like the the union is almost cannibalizing itself here.

    Why? Because there is no evidence of actual bounties on any of those players. The four players named as having bounties are Warner, Favre, Rodgers and Newton. The Warner and Favre “bounties” were apparently a gag Williams asked Vilma to pull to help get players fired up for those games. The accusations of bounties against Rodgers and Newton apparently are based on a couple of emails that Mike Ornstein sent to Payton, emails that Ornstein said were a joke and that Payton said he never even read. There has been no reference or accusation of bounties against any other player.

    Now if Vilma only offered the “bounties” against Warner and Favre at his coaches direction, and at least he, if not others, if not everyone, knew they were jokes, and if the other “bounty” allegations were based on joke emails, and the contents of the emails never even reached the players, then how can the players be punished for these alleged “bounties”?

  21. In other words, this lookss more like a witch hunt than any kind of investigation.

  22. I’m glad more people are starting to cone around and ask for the evidence. I have been waiting for months to hear and or see some of the mountains of evidence they have. Goodell thought everyone would just accept his word as fact and move on, and for the most part people have. I encourage more people to critically think and determine for yourself if you have enough proof because I don’t v

  23. Mike Florio asks some legit questions. Nothing new to Saints fans but at least someone is asking!!

    What probably would work best is a closed administrative type hearing with a trusted arbitrator(s) and representation by both sides.

    Again, it is a long-held principle in jurisprudence that even judges cannot overturn juries based on the written record alone because they were not there to hear testimony. Testimony in its totality along with a full complement of witnesses assists a jury in determining veracity and preponderance of the evidence. There is a parallel here especially if exculpatory evidence or testimony was not sought by the investigators. Again, lots of evidence wilts in the light of adversarial questioning and counter evidence.

    If it were mine to guess. I think we will find a pay for performance program but no intention to injure. The players, their families and their pride would probably welcome the opportunity to prove they did not intend to injure. If my conjecture is true, then the penalties imposed are indeed draconian. What the league and owners do at that juncture no one knows.

    It seems as this time, cooler heads are prevailing and questioning the process. The fact it was tried in the media before all facts were known lends a jaundiced eye to a rush to print. Many similarities can be drawn in recent times wherein a jury did not convict based on media stories alone.

    If anyone wishes to point to the Gregg Williams audio tape, the fact he also told players not to injure anyone is often overlooked because it is an inconvenient fact in their belief system. Listen to the tape again.

  24. Extra pay for performance not in a players contract is not allowed in the NFL. To have a known felon contribute money to a performance fund seriosly aggravates the deed. Before you Saints fans get your bowels in an uproar and start screaming EVERYBODY DOES IT!!!!–Everybody does not do it and everybody was warned especially the Saints that if they were doing it to quit. Leave out the “Bounty” accusations entirely and the Saints are still blatantly wrong and were justly punished. You fans act like the NFL and Goodell wanted this mess to deal with. He gave you every chance to sweep this under the rug and your coaches and players refused. Take your medicine and quit your whining.

  25. If I was not such a die hard Saints fan, the NFL would cease to exist for me at this point. How difficult it was for Goodell to ruin a great thing, but he is trying so hard to make it his league and focus so much on the business side of things, that it is turning off so many fans. The Saints are a way of life for those of us who grew up in New Orleans, so I can’t get it out of my blood even if I tried (even though I have not lived in New Orleans in 23 years). The NFL is going downhill from this point though, notwithstanding the amazing TV ratings. I am so turned off, that I won’t bother watching other games besides Saints games this year and won’t be bothered to be in the fantasy leagues with friends that I have been in for a decade. And this is coming from someone who has been a major supporter and fan of the NFL, not just the Saints. I was at the Super Bowl a few months ago and have Saints season tickets even though I can only make about 4 games a year.

  26. Guys, it is VITALLY important to distringuish “pay for performance,” which is paying for interceptions, fumble recoveries, etc. VERSUS “pay for injury (i.e., a bounty system), which is paying for knocking people out of a game, cartoffs, etc.

    The Saints coaches and players have admitted a “pay for performance” system existed. They have NEVER admitted a “pay for injury” system. The media, and people on this website, continually confuse the two. Read Greg Williams and Hargrove’s statements carefully — they both ONLY admit a “pay for performance” system.

    Goodell is the one saying that a “pay for injury” system existed, and therefore bears the burden of proof before he deprives players of their livelihood. Where is the evidence Roger? If you won’t give it to the public or the media, at least give it to the players whose reputations you have ruined.

    To each of you who disagree, suppose your boss called you into his office and said you are suspended for a year without pay for violations of company policy. You deny the charges and ask to see what evidence he has. He responds I can’t show you the evidence, you’ll just have to trust me. You ask if you can appeal and he says yes, but I will hear the appeal. Further, you can’t see the evidence at the appeal either. This is what is going on here and not only is it unfair, it is un-American.

    I suspect Goodell won’t turn over the evidence because he doesn’t have it. He was trying to use the Saints players as a scapegoat to prove his “player safety” mantra.

  27. It sure is eating at Mike and the boys that they can’t get their hands on that stuff. Like little kids, I wanna see, I wanna see. It’s going to come out one way or another guys but not based upon your semi newsworthy articles. Like like you said, semi quasi private enterprise entity. They’re guilty as sin and we all know it. They’re just looking for a loophole to jump through. Stand your ground Goodell, every body I’n America is behind you on this one except Saints that ain’t fans. I’ll be SURPRISED if PFT will let this one pass

  28. bigbadal21 says:May 5, 2012 8:56 PM

    Extra pay for performance not in a players contract is not allowed in the NFL. To have a known felon contribute money to a performance fund seriosly aggravates the deed.

    No, it’s not allowed, but it’s a far cry from a pay for pay, cash for crippling scheme, as is alleged. As far as the known felon contributing to the fund, the basis for the allegations that he contributed to the fund is apparently a couple of emails he claims were jokes.

    So what you’re saying is that it’s appropriate to suspend a coach for a full season without pay because players were exchanging money to reward each other for big plays? Does this mean that if a quarterback or running back takes his linemen out to dinner or buys them watches after a big season, that the head coach should go down for a year?

  29. thats bs, if they come forward u think everyone will just say oh well no harm no foul. if forced they can recant or refuse, making them testify sends the message to keep secrets. wonderlic scores are leaked and this will be to, but hopefully when nfl players are ready to understand that what was done was ethically and morality right

  30. Pftcensorsuck@@@@

    I agree with you 100%and am thoroughly PFT let your post through as will I be if my two walk. The Saints are as crooked as a snake I’n the bush and you’re right, they got off EASY!!! every now and the one good post will somehow manage to get through. Like me, keep trying!!

  31. Booker1974.

    You’re an absolute idiot if believe that crock of crap you posted. Maybe it was Peter Pan flying around out the knocking the crap outa Favre and Warner. God help these guys and give em a brain with just an ounce of common sense. You can sure tell the Saints fans from the Aint fans like black from white. Holy crap I’ve heard it all now!

  32. Roger Goodell wants to use the saints players as a platform for those retired players suing the league with concussion related lawsuits as tho he’s sending a message to them that things are changing and showing them he cares about player safety by smashing saints players with severe punishments this league has never seen..I am in total disbelief to think he suspended vilma for an entire season based on several independent sources he say/she say that vilma offered 10k to knockout favre and warner out of game without any credible evidence of money exchanged and neither player being carted off and Goodell was at the championship game in 2009 and didn’t investigate then, but thought it was a clean game at the time…Suh of lions received a 2 game suspension for stomping the head into the ground of another player; he couldve caused head trauma to that guy, but goodell gives vilma an entire season based on he say/she say with no evidence of knocking either quarterback out the game…no money was exchanged…. someone needs to drop the hammer on Goodell and suspended him as commissioner of the league…Goodell doesn’t believe in being fair to the players…it’s his way whether he’s right or wrong or the highway…Hail Dictator Goodell

  33. @kodakinvegas – “maybe it was Peter Pan flying around knocking the crap outa Favre and Warner.”

    where were the illegal hits? other than a couple of personal foul calls, total in both games, the hits were clean. Do you think the Saints defensive players were trying to hit harder than the other teams’ defensive players? Do you think if the Saints O line was not fantastic, then Brees would have taken light legal hits against him instead of hard legal hits on him? Yes, maybe it was Peter Pan flying around making all the illegal hits because it surely was not the Saints players and Peter Pan must have been hitting invisible players because the video shows a lot of clean hits that the actual football players in the game were delivering.

    the Vikings were counting on Favre to win that game and he had a great game, but he did not have enough protection in the pocket so he was hit. that’s football. Warner and the cardinals were simply demolished and the big hit on Warner was as legal as a hit can be, when Warner was trying to be a defensive player after throwing interception and was blocked.

  34. @ booker,
    Where are you getting that info about Williams calling for the bounties as a joke, etc? Just curious, never saw any of that before.

  35. Does anyone expect different behavior from an organization whose punishment appeals process goes through the same guy that hands out the punishments? The Saints deserve punishment, but, they also deserve to see all of the evidence against them.

  36. CKL says:May 5, 2012 10:23 PM

    @ booker,
    Where are you getting that info about Williams calling for the bounties as a joke, etc? Just curious, never saw any of that before.

    Ed Werder reported it the day the player suspensions were handed down. He had a source inside the Saints organization that the week before the playoff game against the Cardinals Williams pulled Vilma aside, gave him $10000, and told him to go in and tell his teammates he had $10000 for Warner. Afterwards Vilma returned the money to Williams and they laughed it off. It was all theater (Williams was/is big on theatrics — he’s known to show nature shows of predators attacking their prey as motivation to his defense; and we’ve all heard his Kobra Kai speech).

    The Saints crushed the Cardinals, so Williams did it again the following week. Tony Hargrove told someone else about the gag, it got back to a Vikings, they complained to the league. The league asked the Saints if they were using bounties, they said no, Payton told Williams to knock it off. According the the source, everything else was exaggerated by the league.

    Now, granted Werder’s source was someone within the Saints, but this version of the story is consistent with Vilma’s statement. It’s also consistent with why a bounty was not reported to have been placed on Peyton Manning, or anyone else until Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton this past year, and those alleged bounties are based on emails that Ornstein said were jokes and Payton said he never read.

    Regarding how serious the bounties against Warner and Favre were taken by the players, that’s open for speculation. Vilma at least, and anyone else he told about it, obviously knew they were jokes. In the Cardinals game everyone points to the big hit on Warner, which was hard but legal, that came late in the first half when the game was still competitive. In the second half, when the game was well in hand, there were numerous plays when Saints defenders pulled up on Warner and even cradled him down — go back and watch the game. The Saints got to Favre a lot more in the Vikings game, but that was competitive to the end. For a city that had hosted numerous Super Bowls, Final Fours, college bowl games, etc., it was also a game billed as the biggest game in the history of the city. It’s not hard to believe that the defense was going after Favre not for a bounty, but simply because they wanted to win the game and go to the Super Bowl.

    I will say that even if the bounties were offered as jokes, they were jokes in poor taste and an appropriate penalty should be imposed. The pay for performance was against league rules, and an appropriate penalty should be imposed. But if this is the extent of what actually happened, there is not justification for the claims of pay for injury nor the length of the suspensions imposed.

  37. Kodak, is it so hard to believe that the defense was attacking the quarterbacks in those games simply because it they were trying to win the games? Isn’t that what defenses do, or at least try to?

  38. So if we are all in agreement, if the rat is revealed. Employment is at risk. Why is that??? Maybe, because it is or better yet….. was common practice inside locker rooms. This is all mute point. Goodell signed off on the CBA and the current agreement wipes the slate clean for all player wrongdoing during the old CBA. That’s why the starcaps players were never suspended. Eat ……ish Goodell

  39. I know from the offseason last year that there aren’t a lot of pro-union commenters on here, so I anticipate downvote hell, but…
    The union, if it is going to continue to be a source of strength and security for the players MUST fight back against this and push hard for what they want. The NFL, whether the owners and Goodell like it or not, is a partnership between the players and the administration. You can’t take away a man’s salary for a year without offering evidence. You can’t deny that man a real opportunity to appeal the decision by giving the appeal back to the same judge/jury/executioner. If Goodell keeps doing this, the players are going to start filing law suits against Goodell and the owners–and force the owners to remove Goodell. The Ginger-hammer seems to think he’s untouchable. He’s not. If he doesn’t ease up, the next labor deal is gonna be…less than pleasant.

  40. “Pftcensorsuck@@@@

    I agree with you 100%and am thoroughly PFT let your post through as will I be if my two walk. The Saints are as crooked as a snake I’n the bush and you’re right, they got off EASY!!! every now and the one good post will somehow manage to get through. Like me, keep trying!!”

    @kodakinvegas Ummmm what? Next time try posting a coherent thought.

  41. to booker1974

    But the league is accusing the team and it’s players of intentionally trying to hurt opposing players and providing payment for doing so, and doing so for three years even while warned to stop it. If this were even the slightest bit true, don’t you think at least one former player would have come forward to say that he was shocked at what he saw going on?
    Yes, that’s why:
    Year 1: someone talked, and the rest lied, team got warned
    Year 2: someone talked, and the rest lied, team got warned
    Year 3 someone talked. The hammer comes down. 3 strikes and your out.
    If you want a joke, heres one, what’s ,the diffence between a catfish and an Iowa women? 1 has whiskers and smells really bad, and the other is a catfish. Now that’s a joke, not putting 10g on putting a qb out of the game.
    For Saints fans that want proof, careful what you wish for, because it might come true. It might be alot worse than you ever emagined

  42. Is this the same NFLPA that was found to be not so truthful when stating they weren’t receiving significant financial information during the Lock-out?

  43. I don’t believe people are talking about how the saints super bowl is tainted. How would bounties create an advantage, especially considering these guys are paid to HIT people and get after QBs. Furthermore I don’t remember seeing any dirty hits, hard and vicious yes, but nothing dirty. I mean its not like they were illegally videotaping opposing teams signals…

  44. Why don’t they just let the State prosecute them and see if they are guilty or not? Brings prison sentence into play… because hiring someone to injure or mame someone else is a criminal offense (even in Louisiana).

    On the plus side, Saints players would have the ‘home court’ in a jury pool.

  45. it is really amazing to me that the saints fans are screaming for the nfl to show proof, not hearsay, and then explain the need for it because payton said and williams said and orenstien said. if payton and loomis were so trustworth, this whole situation would not be here. every team were told to stop, the saints did not. end of story.

  46. senky3 says:
    May 6, 2012 9:10 AM
    it is really amazing to me that the saints fans are screaming for the nfl to show proof, not hearsay, and then explain the need for it because payton said and williams said and orenstien said. if payton and loomis were so trustworth, this whole situation would not be here. every team were told to stop, the saints did not. end of story.

    The Saints aren’t denying the existence of a pay for incentive system,they are asking for proof the players accepted cash for a bounty system trying to injure opponents. Big Big difference there. In a court of law,a judge will throw out hearsay and might even fine a lawyer for bringing it up. So far all that’s being reported is circumstantial evidence. What’s wrong for someone asking for emperical evidence beyond the shadow of a doubt if they are punished?

    I’m a Saints fan and I know they are not innocent little angels in this whole mess. I also know they aren’t the only team involved in these types of programs. Imo what’s going to happen in the future is the NFLPA will negotiate the removal of Goodell as Judge,Jury,and Executioner in the next CBA. Unfortunately for the Saints,it’s part of the CBA now,and they’ll just have to accept Goodells Draconian measures.

  47. 2quart, not a single person has come forward to publicly confirm the leagues allegations. No one. Some one obviously tipped the league to investigate (believed to be a disgruntled former Saints staffer), but no one has come forward and said that the leagues allegations are true and they were shocked at what was going on in New Orleans. This doesn’t seem odd to you? If the allegations were true, wouldn’t at least one person have been shocked and outraged enough to come forward?

    And as far Saints fans wanting proof, if there is proof that the team ingaged in pay for injury, we do want to see it so we can put this to rest and move on.

  48. A quick question for those convinced of the Saints guilt:

    Running a 3 year bounty program in the face of league directions to stop goes beyond arrogance into stupidity. Sean Payton may be arrogant, but do you really believe he is that stupid to allow a pay for injury scheme to go on for three years and think it would never get caught? Do you think that Mickey Loomis and the coaching staff are all that collectively stupid that they would allow what the league alleges to go on for three years? And if if really did go on, why didn’t Benson fire anyone? Quite the opposite, he’s standing by his employees. Seems kind of odd, don’t you think?

  49. Wow. There’s certainly a lot of ignorance about what’s going on here. Let’s address a few of them:

    1) The NFL is NOT just any private business that can do whatever they like. They’re an organization that is governed by a collective bargaining agreement that allows it to get around many anti-trust laws that it could not necessarily violate if not for the CBA. It therefore HAS to comply with said CBA in ANY decisions regarding how it operates it’s players, especially in regards to how it affects it’s employees (players).

    2) Then, there’s the idea that the NFLPA has signed over complete authority to Goodell to hand out discipline and then review the appeal as he sees fit without any independent body in the pipeline to second guess him. That’s wrong. Goodell has that authority (wrongly I beleive. Thank you Pac Man Jones you idiot!!) for incidents happening OFF the field of play. He does NOT have the same authority when it comes to ON field discipline. The NFLPA is arguing, and I think they’re dead on, that the pay to injure scheme was an on field situation and therefore the appeals process should run through Ted Cottrell and Art Shell who have been hired jointly for on the field situations. Instead of utilizing that method Goodell has utilized his authority under the player off the field conduct policy in an attempt to circumvent the accused players from mounting a successful defense.

    3) Some fans are also throwing out the idea that the NFL doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. Unfortunately, that’s also untrue. People this is not a court of law. It’s a grievance proceeding governed by a CBA. Unless this is the first CBA in the history of the world that allows the employer to arbitrarily fine and suspend employees without providing a shred of evidence then the NFL is REQUIRED to provide the evidence requested by the NFLPA. They don’t have to give the media anything but their obligations under the CBA and the National Labor Relations Act state that the employer must provide relevant information that it is using to justify their discipline to the employee’s union representative. Under a CBA, the burden of proof is ALWAYS on the employer to prove that the the discipline was justified and reasonable, and that the employer did not act in an arbitrary and capricious manner in utilizing their right to discipline said employee. Unions even have the right to interview witnesses that the employer is using to support their case for discipline. Otherwise the due process rights of the accused are violated. Especially since the evidence so far sounds like its all allegations from other players and maybe coaches. If the only evidence the NFL has against these accused players is testimony from these “witnesses/whistleblowers” then the Union has every right to refuse to take the NFL’s word for it that they said what they said and they then have every right to attack the credibility and testimony of these witnesses in defense of their accused members Again, I’m not talking about a court of law. All of these things are allowed for under every CBA I have ever seen and under the NLRA. Hell, I’m only surprised the NFLPA has t filed a labor charge as of now.

    4) I’m also hearing an argument that “Of course this independent counsel isn’t really independent but the NFLPA lawyer isn’t either!!” The big difference in the two is that the NFLPA lawyer isn’t pretending to be independent either as is the NFL’s little fraud. The NFLPA lawyer will tell you right up front who he’s representing. Will Mary Jo??

  50. Go back and watch the helmet to the chin after the handoff, the high low hits and the flags that WEREN’T thrown and catch a re-run of twisted ankles I’n the pile. The flags are the refs fault. I’ve always thought they should paid but not by the teams. And that’s a joke starment so don’t wad your panties up. My point, Saints suck, every suspension should be upheld and should have been worse. But then again, Brees wouldn’t understand that and require further explanation. Who duh? Dey Duh lying, cheating, whining, two faced snakes I’n the grass. They got their crap tainted trophy but they will have the slug reputation that goes with it forever. Welcome back garbage bags. Only now you can choose. Paper or multi purpose plastic. Also serves as an umbrella as well as shame coverage

  51. kingfish4242 says:May 6, 2012 10:30 AM

    In a court of law,a judge will throw out hearsay and might even fine a lawyer for bringing it up. So far all that’s being reported is circumstantial evidence. What’s wrong for someone asking for emperical evidence beyond the shadow of a doubt if they are punished?


    First you bring up hearsay in a court of law and then turn around and ask for evidence “beyond a shadow of a doubt”? No court in this great country of ours requires that high of standard of proof. In addition, circumstantial evidence is just that – evidence! Many people have been, and will continue to be, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt due to circumstantial evidence.

  52. @ kameleono

    While what you wrote is quite excellent there is one significant factor you left out. According to many legal experts I’ve read, Goodell has a trump card that most businesses don’t: For the good of the game power.

    In the CBA, the Commissioner has the power to impose discipline on a player for “conduct detrimental to the integrity of, or public confidence in, the game of professional football”. While an regular suspension could be challenged through arbitration, if Goodell invoked the ‘integrity’ clause he has the final say.

    The language is broad in it’s grant of authority and would apparently allow the Commissioner to impose ‘integrity’ sanctions whether the conduct is on or off the field.

    My guess is the NFL has enough evidence among Williams, Hargrove, who ever first alerted the league and forensic material to make this fall under the “integrity” clause. I also think the suspensions are as long as they are due to the lies, cover-ups and refusal to participate. Most employees, union or otherwise, would suffer far worse consequences if they took the same approach with such participation in a company’s investigation.

  53. your guess is stupid seeing as the saints didnt have a pay to injure program…so how can u say they lied by saying they didnt..when in fact they didnt?…

  54. @truthserum4u

    I hadn’t read anything like that before I posted. From what I know, and I absolutely could be wrong, Goodell’s “integrity” of the game clause only comes into play for off the field transgressions. If you had evidence as to otherwise then I was unaware of it.

    Also, I would like to know more about what you said in regards to the players lies and refusal to cooperate. I obviously only know what I’ve read about this situation, so I don’t know much, but I do know that refusal to cooperate in an ongoing investigation in my CBA is grounds for discipline. We are required to cooperate. But again, I don’t know the full story.

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