New Orleans Saints-Redskins are here, Freeh’s investigation of Bountygate is not

goodellThe NFL Players Association filed another losing motion this week when it asked federal judge Ginger Berrigan to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the suspensions of Will Smith and Scott Fujita. Berrigan must rule in the next day or two since the season, for everybody but Dallas and the Giants, begins Sunday. So the beat goes on.

But lost in all the discussion of a TRO's, a new NFL season, Sean Payton's vacation, interim head coaches and interims to the interim head coach is one big tuna can at the bottom of the New Orleans Saints' travel trunk. It is still only a faint smell, but the longer it sits and spoils, the more likely it will result in another stinker on the Saints reputation. If you recall, Saints owner Tom Benson retained former FBI Director Louis Freeh to conduct a complete and impartial investigation into the Bountygate scandal and its assorted tentacles.




     Nothing has been heard from Freeh since then, probably because his firm has spent much of its time performing the same type of investigation on the Penn State child abuse scandal. The university trustees paid $6.5 million for the report, which was released a couple of weeks ago amid the same type of reaction that can be expected when Freeh finally weighs in on the Saints. Lawyers for former Penn State president Graham Spanier blasted the report that said he helped cover up a 2001 incident of child sex abuse. Spanier said the report concealed facts, did not include interviews with key witnesses and cherry-picked statements to support its findings. 

     Former federal judge Timothy Lewis, who represents the ousted Spanier, said the 267-page report erroneously concluded that Spanier tried to protect the school from bad publicity by not reporting to police allegations that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was seen showering with a boy. The Freeh report is a "blundering and indefensible indictment," and "as it pertains to Dr. Spanier, is a myth," Lewis said at a news conference. In an interview with ABC News, Spanier called the Freeh report "absolutely wrong," saying its conclusions "are just incorrect." 

     So you see what we have yet to look forward to? I have not yet seen an accused person yet accept accusations without a protest, and the NFL parties will be no different. If the report finds evidence to support Commissioner Roger Goodell's  suspensions and other penalities, you can expect those penalized to criticize its perceived shortcomings. The Players Association also will weigh in about the incomplete investigation which did not answer certain questions.

     On the other hand, if the Freeh report finds Goodell was trigger-happy and acted on incomplete information and innuendo, you can expect Goodell to pooh-pooh it while the players demand immediate reinstatement. You might also expect Sean Payton, Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt to put in a call to the commissioner. What you probably will not hear is any public comment from Louis Freeh's group. They will have cashed the check and gone on to their next investigation.

  by Jim W. Miller

His new book, "Where the Water Kept Rising," is now available in local bookstores and at his website: www.JWMillerSports.com


scaliseRetiresafe, New Orleans, Jefferson Parish senior advocates honor Congressman Steve Scalise Click here


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