A perfect example of the waters being muddied is... Joe Vitt vehemently denying the claims made that he put $5000 on Brett Favre's head. Vitt went as far as to offer to sign a legal affidavit and take a lie detector test to prove his innocence from this accusation. The thing is, the NFL has already acknowledged that never accused Vitt of this because they didn't have the evidence to support it. So basically, the NFL had unreliable evidence by their own admission that was good enough to share with the media (and by extension the public) but not good enough to punish Joe Vitt? To me that just reeks of unprofessionalism. And let's not forget the NFL's claims that they had "emails from Mike Ornstein to Sean Payton" - which turned out to be a forward that came from numerous channels before it got to Payton (a convenient detail the NFL left out) as well as the gross distortion of their interpretation of an interview with Anthony Hargrove when it was leaked to the press. The NFL has been extremely shady in the way they've handled this and it's their fault the legitimacy of this case has been called into question. They have not handled this on the up and up - period.
If you're curious, the two exhibits the NFL submitted as their evidence is now available... (exhibits 1-12 HERE, exhibits 13-16 HERE). If you read through all of it (which I don't recommend), so much of it is completely irrelevant to this case and barely understandable. Why would the NFL even bother including some of this stuff? Some exhibits merely include the times of team meetings and reminder to players to hydrate for crying out loud. What useful purpose did their inclusion have, except to water down their accustations? Two other items that were included as "evidence" was Sean Pamphilon's May 31st rant of "Kill the Head and the Body Will Die" and a June 6th article by Mike Tripplett of the Times-Picayune interviewing Scott Shanle. Those two dates, again, were May 31st and June 6th. The player suspensions were made on May 2nd. So the NFL added to their "evidence" pile two items that never went into the decision to suspend these players in the first place. To me, that screams that they were never that confident in the "evidence" they had and they were desperate to add anything and everything that could help strengthen it. It's been very clear to me the NFL's approach has been a shaky "let's throw everything we get at the wall and see what sticks".
So to save you from reading through those exhibits and give you what I interpret at least partially makes the NFL's case is the following below. Before I share this, I want to make it clear that what I'm talking about here is a PAY TO INJURE program. We know the PAY FOR PERFORMANCE program existed. The exhibits prove it, the players have admitted it, the coaches have admitted it. Let's be sure, once again, we understand the important distinction between what is ADMITTED, the pay for performance program, and what is being ACCUSED and DENIED by the Saints, the pay to injure program. Ok here we go:
- The Gregg Williams audio, of course. It doesn't prove the Saints players took him literally, but there is audio of Williams directing his players to injure opposing players.
- Payments listed for "Cart-Off" and "Whack". Those terms have suspicious names, but do we really know what they mean exactly? We do know Roman Harper is listed as having one "Cart-Off", but no opposing player was literally carted off in that game - so there is clearly room for explanation there.
- A list of defensive players with a statistical category called "kills to the head". Again, what does that mean? We can't be completely sure, but it sounds suspicious.
- A picture of Dog the Bounty Hunter in a team slide with a quote "collect bounty$$$"
- For the Minnesota game, it says "Vilma -- $10,000 QB", "QB Grant - $10,000", "QB Ornstein, $10,000", "Vitt - $5000 QB Out" - although if the NFL has already admitted the Vitt portion of this isn't reliable, I don't see how anything on this specific page can be accepted as reliable.
That's basically it. Everything else in these exhibits is useless clutter. To me, the most damning part of all of this is the "collect bounty$$$". It's hard to deny the existence of a "bounty" program when that is written in plain English on a team slide. But again, I don't understand why the NFL didn't just present these five items and nothing else - it would have made for a stronger case.
Guys let me try to clarify what is going on here using the words "grassy knoll" and "magic bullit theory"... Oh never mind.
My question is about the Dog the Bounty hunter slide presentation. Did Mary Jo White ever say that the presentation was actually used at a defensive meeting? I know it was found on the Saints computers, but was it actually used in a meeting or just found on their computers? If the players never saw this presentation then how can that relate to players seeking out bounties? Could someone have shown the presentation to Williams and then maybe he didn't even use it? I have lots of documents on my computer that have never been used, just never took the time to get rid of them.
@KimChampagneSpiker I don't have a definitive answer for that, but yes, it is presumed that that specific slide was shown at a defensive team meeting led by Gregg Williams. GW did a lot of interviewing with the NFL on all this stuff and he supposedly spilled his guts, so a lot of the info they have is straight from him. Cerullo is the other big source (though much less reliable). The question is how much GW threw players and coaches under the bus. That is unclear, but the NFL claims at the very least he ratted out Vilma big time.
Thanks for the information. I also read that there was information concerning Mike Karney in reference to the Rams game. To me there was just information on the slide, so why would that have been introduced into evidence? I know this is all just speculation but it just makes you wonder........even more!
@KimChampagneSpiker definitely. It's fluff. I guess the NFL may be trying to suggest the Saints targeted Mike Karney? But there is zero evidence of that. If this was a case in a court of law, 95% of this evidence would have been thrown out immediately.
I think the guys are screwed! Goodell looks like a savior in the eyes of that Senator Durbin/Darbin (?spelling). After the meeting with Goodell he was "Satisfied with the way Goodell is handling the issue". Which tells me that RG can't overturn these player or coaches suspensions . If he does that, he loses all credibility with the Senate. No way in hell Goodell does that to himself and the NFL. It's easier to hear a bunch of players complain than it is to look bad in front of the government. Which may I add has no business getting involved with any of this.
I see more evidence of a witch hunt and shoddy investigation than I do of a bounty program warranting such sever penalties. This hand written and transcribed note was enough evidence to ban Vilma from football for a year but not considered valid to use against Vitt. What a bunch of crap.
@insidej0b Agree with you to an extent, but one thing that's not included in these exhibits (that I neglected to mention but should have) was the interviews the NFL conducted with various entities.
Here's the thing about Vilma vs. Vitt. No one corroborated what was presumably Cerullo's information that Vitt placed a cash bounty on Favre. However, the NFL claims both Ornstein and Gregg Williams corroborated that they heard Vilma put a cash bounty on Favre's head. Now, Ornstein has responded publicly and said that is not true - BUT, we haven't heard from Gregg Williams. I don't know if it's true or not, but if Gregg Williams' did indeed throw Vilma under the bus then that's pretty damning.
Now, given the NFL's distortion of information on both the "Ornstein to Payton email" AND the "Hargrove interview", I'm not sure I believe GW said he heard Vilma say that until he comes out and admits it, but what the NFL claims to have is pretty damning.
@SaintsNation My problem is that with each day that passes, the NFL and Roger Goodell look to be more and more fullo of shit. Ornstein says they made it up. He has ZERO to lose and the NFL and Gregg Williams both have everything to lose. Williams' reinstatement is contingent on his playing ball with Goodell. Ginsberg called Goodell out at the appeal hearing saying that both Cerullo and Williams had recanted their statements made to the NFL, that Goodell knew it because they recanted to HIM and that he didn't release any of that information to the players because it's exculpatory evidence that would make him look foolish for imposing the penalties he has. The coaches have no union backing them and by staying quiet and playing Goodell's game they can be back to coaching in a year, 8 games or 6 games. The players don't have that luxury in that their careers are much shorter than that of a coach.