Now, Hargrove has given a detailed declaration of exactly what the Saints told him to do, in order to help cover up the scandal and hide it from NFL investigators.
You can read the full declaration over at Pro Football Talk, but here are a few of the highlights:
The meeting lasted approximately 30 minutes, and during that time, both Coach Williams and Coach Vitt told me that I should deny the existence of any bounty or bounty program to the NFL. Williams and Vitt repeatedly stated that they “care about me, and . . . if we all stay on the same page about this, it will blow over.” They told me that when the NFL asked me about any bounty or bounty program, I should “just play dumb.”
The NFL Security personnel asked me if there had been a bounty on Brett Favre in the NFC Championship game, and as instructed by Coach Williams and Coach Vitt, I denied all knowledge of a bounty or bounty program.
Approximately a week after I had been questioned by NFL Security, Gregg Williams asked me about the interview; he asked “Did you stick to the story?” I told him that I responded to all of the NFL’s questions as he and Coach Vitt had instructed me: I denied any knowledge of a bounty program.
This sheds an awful lot of light on the real situation in New Orleans.
Most likely, the bounty situation itself wasn't considered the real crime here. Instead, the elaborate coverup involving various levels of the Saints' organization is what the NFL has a real problem with.
One has to assume that the NFL knew about all of this before levying their suspensions against Williams, Sean Payton, Vitt, Hargrove and the other players, but if they didn't, do you think this should change anything?
It seems like Hargrove is trying to use this to show that he and the other players are innocent victims of merely obeying their coaches' orders.
I'm not sure if that's going to make Roger Goodell look any more kindly on them, but it gives you an idea of why the players were so hesitant to blow the whistle, even after they went to other teams.