Monday, 18 June 2012 19:04

NFL gives evidence in New Orleans Saints bounty but Fujita, NFLPA complain

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 gregg-williamsThe NFL displayed some of its hand on Monday concerning Bountygate as appeals were heard on four Saints players. 

The NFL also claims it showed 12 reporters the same evidence it displayed at today's hearing.

The reporters who have seen the evidence shown to them by the NFL appear to be impressed with what they saw.  However, NFLPA and at least one implicated ex-Saint, Scott Fujita, have attacked the NFL's presentations.

 James Varney of the Times Picayune who has tweeted throughout the day has issued his report, which a portion of it is below: 

In particular, league attorneys and gumshoes showed typed versions of handwritten notes that purportedly show the Saints had a pool with $35,000 in it for the 2009 NFC championship game, a contest in which Vikings quarterback Brett Favre took a vicious pounding and two Saints players were fined for their blows to the signal caller. That amount is more than three times greater than had publicly been disclosed, and in addition to the $10,000 the NFL said linebacker Jonathan Vilma put in to the kitty the league said $5,000 came from interim head coach Joe Vitt.

Former federal prosecutor Mary Jo White led the presentation at the NFL's headquarters, and while she and other league officials remained tight-lipped about the, "multiple, independent sources," on which their investigation was based, it was clear that Williams, Vitt, and convicted felon Mike Ornstein - once a curious and insider with the club - were key.

In the pool the Saints allegedly ran on Favre, Vilma emerged as a key participant, according to the league's presentation. Goodell has suspended Vilma without pay for the 2012 season, and Vilma has insisted the bounty is wholly imaginary. He and his attorney, Peter Ginsberg, maintained that position Monday after the morning appeal was adjourned over procedural issues.


 Below are some of the tweets of two of the reporters who have seen the evidence the NFL said was on display during the hearings--Mike Freeman of CBS and Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

2hmike freeman ‏@realfreemancbs

Saints also alleged to have targeted Matt Hasselbeck and Lynch.


2hmike freeman ‏@realfreemancbs

Oh, and I forgot, Saints used Dog the Bounty Hunter as motivation.

2hmike freeman ‏@realfreemancbs

Williams told investigators he was "rolling the dice with player safety and someone could have been maimed."

2hmike freeman ‏@realfreemancbs

A couple more things: I tweeted this earlier. Vitt contributed to Favre bounty. Five grand.

2hmike freeman ‏@realfreemancbs

More on this story to come on . I gotta write.

2hmike freeman ‏@realfreemancbs

Dumbass Saints kept bounty info on computer system.

2hmike freeman ‏@realfreemancbs

Owner Benson was cooperative with the league granting investigators access to Saints computer system.



Peter King ‏@SI_PeterKing

Will have a story about the NFL's bounty case up by 8 eastern.

1hPeter King ‏@SI_PeterKing

RT @bigbri7535: Were you one of 12, or hearing from those in the room? ... I was in there.

2hPeter King ‏@SI_PeterKing

To clarify, the 12 reporters were told they were getting the same presentation the players got earlier in the afternoon.

2hPeter King ‏@SI_PeterKing

The NFL's charges are explosive, compelling. Twelve reporters just heard the league's evidence.


2hPeter King ‏@SI_PeterKing

The $35k bounty on Favre, the league claims, included a $5000 pledge from current interim Saints coach Joe Vitt.

2hPeter King ‏@SI_PeterKing

NFL also showed evidence on ledger that S Roman Harper once was due$1000 for knocking NYG RB Brandon Jacobs from a game.

2hPeter King ‏@SI_PeterKing

NFL just showed reporters evidence in Saints case, incl allegation of $35k bounty, not just $10k, to knock Favre out of '09 NFC title game.

Yet, here are comments from Yahoo Sports made by the NFLPA:


Following the hearing, the NFLPA released a statement, which said that the PowerPoint slides used as a basis for discipline were never shown to the Saints' coaches, nor was any explanation ever given. In addition, the NFLPA charged that the NFL failed to provide players and coaches with all sorts of exculpatory and mitigating evidence.


From the statement, entitled "Information from NFLPA regarding NFL's 'evidence'":


After the Commissioner's three year investigation, which the NFL publicly declared consisted of review of "over 18,000 documents," interviews of several witnesses, and involved a former US Attorney hired to opine that the investigation was "thorough and fair," the League provided the Players Union with less than two hundred pages of documents the Friday before Monday's hearing.


The NFL chose not to identify who created the documents, when they were created, the purpose of creating them, where the documents were obtained, or whether the players had even seen these documents. In addition to denying the Players Union's request for a three-day continuance to learn  the answers to these questions, the Commissioner nonetheless informed the players that the League will not offer any witness at the hearing who created the documents.


Scott Fujita, one of the Saints implicated has his own thoughts which he said the NFL has not proven anything: 

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