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Monday, 23 July 2012 05:56
Will Freeh be free to disclose New Orleans Saints bounty investigation report?
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tom benson saintsIn a column today, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio made an interesting point relating to Bountygate, the New Orleans Saints, Tom Benson and former federal judge and FBI Director, Louis Freeh.

His point: Now that the Penn State report by Louis Freeh has been revealed, excoriating the university and Joe Paterno, their beloved football coach for decades, and now that the NCAA appears to be taking bloody sanctions against  the school, what might happen to the Saints?

 

Today, the NCAA walloped Penn State severely punishing them which included stripping the team of wins since 1998.  Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in college football history.

In early June, Benson hired Freeh’s firm to investigate bountygate and other associated matters weeks ago, prior to the former Judge’s release of his bombshell findings, that flattened Penn State.

Florio asks whether New Orleans Saints owner, Tom Benson or Freeh, will ultimately publically release the report on bountygate the same way that Penn State did?

Florio suggests the answer depends upon what’s in Freeh’s report.

In other words, if it is bad news, it will remain hidden news;  If it is good news, it will be broadcasted publically.

Florio makes a distinction between Penn State and the Saints.  The former is public and the latter, privately owned, thus not within the ambit of public regulations and policing.

Well, maybe not.

If the hiring of Freeh was to gather internal information only, then not disclosing that fact from the very beginning might not have been very wise.  If the report stays hidden the argument obviously would be that Freeh and Benson concocted some type of agreement to probe but not disclose.

It is doubtful that the NFL community would be very pleased about that result, even if that organization did not pay for the former FBI chief’s work.

It’s also questionable that Freeh would have agreed to such a high-profile assignment and allow others to claim, even wrongfully, that he is part of a Saints cover-up.

Not that there has been one nor would be one, but, at the minimum, that certainly would be the noise generated by those wanting the pride of New Orleans to be humiliated and severely punished.

There is another angle as to whether the evidence and the report would remain under Benson’s or Freeh’s wraps.  That angle is—“here comes the judge”.  Even if Benson hired Freeh for confidential work product purposes only, tell that to the boss in the black robe.

The NFL and others would definitely motion to take the insulation off Freeh’s bounty-findings.

Judging by the number of lawsuits against the NFL that are floating around these days, including those related to Bountygate, it would be easy to make the case that any or even the entire report and findings are relevant and admissible in court.

In that case, the world might know the truth as to whether the Saints or Roger Goodell by his allegations and subsequent punishments, have been paid-to-injure in this NFL land of the Bounty.

 My guess is the facts and opinions will be “Freehly” available at some point with the NFL or the Saints carrying it up the proverbial goalposts for the world to cheer or to boo.

 

 

 

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