NFL says Mike Cerullo should be “commended” for coming forward

Before Monday, the NFL refused to disclose the name of Saints bounty whistleblower Mike Cerullo, keeping his name concealed despite relying on the evidence he provided in suspending four players.  On Monday, the NFL decided to disclose a sworn statement signed by Cerullo in May 2012, necessarily shedding his anonymity.

The league has issued a statement indicating that it was Cerullo’s idea to allow his name to be disclosed.

“Mike Cerullo should be commended for coming forward,” the NFL said.  “The information and detail he provided was credible and has since been confirmed in numerous respects both by other witnesses and by supporting documents.  It is unfortunate that some have sought to unfairly attack his integrity rather than give attention to the substance of his declaration.”

But if Cerullo’s sworn statement is completely credible, a portion of former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ sworn statement necessarily isn’t.  USA Today has links to both of the statements, and the most glaring discrepancy arises from Cerullo’s contention that he gave Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma’s $10,000 postseason quarterback bounty prize to Williams for safekeeping; Williams says he never saw a dime of it.  Likewise, Cerullo says the offer was first made before the 2009 divisional playoff game between the Saints and the Cardinals, with quarterback Kurt Warner being the target — and that Vilma then reiterated the offer before the game against the Vikings and quarterback Brett Favre.  Williams makes no mention whatsoever of Vilma making any offer prior to the Cardinals game.

From Vilma’s perspective, the fact that the NFL is trying after the record of evidence was closed in June to bolster its case should be troubling.  But the reality is that, if/when Vilma is suspended, a new appeals hearing will be conducted before Commissioner Roger Goodell.  At that time, Cerullo and Williams will have to testify — and lawyer Peter Ginsberg will have an opportunity to eviscerate both of them.

It’s no secret — and definitely not news — that Ginsberg has had Cerullo in his sights.  Vilma’s July lawsuit challenging his suspension outed Cerullo as the whistleblower, alleging hat the Saints fired Cerullo after he “disappear[ed] from the Club during the 2009 Season and provid[ed] a pretextual excuse that was shown to be inaccurate,” that he “disappear[ed] from the Club during the week leading up to the Super Bowl in 2010, again giving a pretextual excuse that was shown to be inaccurate,” that he received “a cubic zirconia Super Bowl ring facsimile rather than a genuine Super Bowl ring, for which Cerullo has strenuously and vehemently expressed his resentment,” that he “pledged revenge against the Saints,” and particularly against assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt.  It paints a picture of Cerullo as a many with a vendetta to exact against the Saints, which prevents the possibility of exaggeration or embellishment from being completely disregarded.

Surely, Cerullo didn’t decide out of the blue to allow his name to be tied to the case.  The facts and circumstances support a reasonable inference that the league has been trying to persuade Cerullo to morph from whistleblower to full-blown witness, and that the league finally managed to talk Cerullo into fully cooperating once the appeals panel gave the league office a procedural Mulligan.  When Cerullo testifies, it’ll be interesting to see what he has to say about why he changed his mind.

40 responses to “NFL says Mike Cerullo should be “commended” for coming forward

  1. Glad he came forward now we can see how upset he was when he got this fake ring and not the real thing. I know i would be pissed at the the team myself if that happen to me. Hope those hookers where well worth it, oops can i say hookers on this site if not truly sorry. This is the straw that will get Sean Payton back watch an see…………..

  2. Every team had a bounty!! Many Ex players have admitted it. Move on and worry about getting real refs on the field.

  3. Okay, so… The Saints fired Cerullo because he… *ahem*… lied about something.

    Saints lie about pay-for-performance… Everyone complains that their mere suspensions should be overturned.

    You can argue about the semantics all you like, but you can’t have it both ways.

  4. This is getting too hard to follow. I need you to dumb this down with a review. Now who-did-what-when?

    On second thought–Never Mind! My attention span for this expired a long time ago.

  5. pure and insane drama!! this guy is scum and d-bag…you were fired for not showing up for work and disappearing for long periods of time…he has the nerve to be upset and have a personal vendetta for being fired and it was his fault…any sane person with a regular job would be fired as well…immature homer!

  6. I have seen that picture of Cerullo before, but Brad Pitt was always cut out of it! I wonder if that is the first time that Brad Pitt was cut out of a picture.

  7. If Roger Goodell is as slimy as he appears to be, he’ll put the Cerullo & Williams testimony on the NFL network and crank up the advertising fees for the special.
    Second, it will be interesting to see what this guy is going to be paid for his testimony. There is no way he is assuring he’ll never get a job in the league again for free.

  8. Wow, the depth of stupidity of many fans is really beyond belief. You mean to tell me that you’re buying the NFL’s crap now? After, what, three YEARS of investigation and 50,000 THOUSAND or so pages of so-called evidence, the NFL’s smoking gun is an affidavit from Williams made three-four DAYS ago before he splits? Seriously? This is what they wave in front of Vilma as indictment for the Saints bounty program? If this wasn’t real, I’d think this was a joke. Really. Isn’t it OBVIOUS that the NFL was desperate to find something and they pull out Williams, desperate to save his career, to sign this rag to be produced as evidence.

    As Jim Brown said, bounties have always been part of the game. The Ravens said they had a bounty program. The Redskins and Bills. And certainly, the king of bounties, Buddy Ryan, had a program going in Philly. The Saints are just the scapegoat, but even the NFL can’t produce credible evidence except for this obvious orchestrated charade.

    But, hey, if you need to believe the fantasy that YOUR team would never, ever does such things, it’s no skin off my nose. Let me know when Mickey Mouse is free for lunch.

  9. Cerullo and Gregg Williams should be commended for stepping forward. The players can say what they want about them being “snitches,” but they did the right thing.

  10. I don’t understand why there was no bounty on Peyton Manning in the super bowl. If the bounty continued from Warner to Farve, then why not Manning!
    But don’t you know–Roger said they were punished because they were warned and they kept on doing it!

    Right now he can’t even prove that they did it to Favre, much less what he claimed to have punished them for all along.

  11. Most of the recent developments, while interesting, are probably largely irrelevant. Goodell and the league now have produced more than sufficient evidence to withstand the inevitable court challenge.

    When it returns to Judge Berrigan she still won’t be deciding whether or not she agrees the suspensions were justified based on the evidence. Instead, her review will be limited to whether Goodell/the league followed the terms of the CBA.

    Now that Vilma, and presumably the other players, are going to get their pound of flesh out of Williams and Cerullo during the hearing before Goodell, there will be nothing to complain about to Judge Berrigan. The CBA procedures will have been followed.

    While there is a lot of kicking and screaming right now, it’s a virtual certainty Judge Berrigan will have no choice but to dismiss the players’ appeals.

  12. @pmars64…..if you keep telling yourself that . Eventually you might believe it! What a joke. The AINTS had no right winning that game, and everyone knows it.

  13. Wow, I never really thought about that Super Bowl?? I’m sure it’s never brought up because the NFL would never DARE take back that Super Bowl……or would want anything tarnishing that game.

  14. Vilma could be put up on charges of perjury too, oops.

    Who cares about the bounty if every team does it. The problem was the officials not calling the high/low hit & the hit below the knees. If that was called the Saints would have stopped.

  15. So the Saints are wrong for making extra money for hard hits and knockouts but the NFL is ok for selling Same video that exploits same hits by stamping it on a video box cover?

  16. WOW! Poor Cerullo! Fake ring AND fake hair. Really bad toupee dude.
    So I guess every thing this loser has is fake except his testimony. Riiiiight.

  17. harryglyphics says:Sep 18, 2012 6:51 PM

    Most players will probably tell you: The problem with locker rooms is not bounties–it’s rats.

    Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.
    Honesty trumps evil. The real rats are the Saints who will soon be re-suspended. NFLPA members who are trying to hurt their fellow union members. Tsk! Tsk! The Commissioner is going to give them a spanking and send them to their rooms.

  18. mindbogglinggg says:Sep 18, 2012 7:16 PM

    I don’t understand why there was no bounty on Peyton Manning in the super bowl. If the bounty continued from Warner to Farve, then why not Manning!

    He’s an insider, a Swamp Boy. Any further injury to sonny boy manning would have broken Archie’s heart.

  19. There were two witness accusing Ben Roethlisberger too, and the charges there were a bit more serious, but the punishment was a lot less. I guess Goodell is more sympathetic with the accused in the latter type of case.

  20. txxxchief says:Sep 18, 2012 6:47 PM

    The Saints organization never learned that they have to be nice to those who know where you buried the Or be nice to people so they don’t LIE about buried bodies !!

  21. What was his motivation though… He has destroyed any chances he had for working with another team now that he’s a known rat and the league outed him. Maybe he can work for the league department for whistleblowers. He’s pretty much screwed..

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