Saints quarterback Drew Brees has compared the evidence to search for WMD in Iraq. Well, now you can see if he's right. The NFL Players Association has posted all the evidence online, so you can play Roger Goodell at home and decide whether this evidence really proves the Saints guilty as charged in the bounty scandal.
Let's review the evidence piece by piece. People, some of it is just hilarious. Most pieces of evidence already have a categorical denial from the accused.
- The Testimony from Accused Ringleader Gregg Williams -- Williams, currently on indefinite suspension, is pretty much the only one who is admitting guilt. The NFL also has an amusing and incriminating email to Williams declaring, "D***head I gave you 1500 last week."
- That Note to the Left -- That note is tendered as proof that the Saints defense had pledged a total of $35,000 to knock Brett Favre from the 2010 NFC Championship Game. I don't see how those totals add up to $35,000, but that is the allegation. This note explains why Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma is in such hot water. Vilma denies any involvement, but three anonymous sources tell the NFL they saw Vilma physically offer up the cash.
- Incriminating audio -- The NFL played audio to reporters of former Saints defensive end Anthony Hargrove, after knocking Favre silly in that NFC Championship game, saying "Give me the money!" This audio has not been publicly released. Hargrove denies it is his voice.
- That Crude PowerPoint presentation -- The most damning bits of the PowerPoint, complete with highly unskilled cut-and-pastes of Dog the Bounty Hunter and rifle cross-hair images, are available on the Players Union site. The highlight, for me, was the phrase "THIS IS ANOTHER F****** BODY BAG GAME!" I'm going to repeat that phrase on several Sundays this NFL season.
- Ledgers showing which players were owed money -- These ledgers are available in the PDFs linked above. They include bonuses for "cart-offs" and "whacks". The attorney for Jonathan Vilma argues that these terms are just unfortunate nickknames for perfectly legal hits.
After seeing the evidence himself, King reported back to Sports Illustrated in a video segment. "There were several pieces that seemed to prove that there was a pay-for-performance system going on which dominated the landscape. There was far less evidence of a bounty system."
“Clearly the NFL has evidence that something was going on in New Orleans," King continued. "I think the big question now is do they have enough evidence and enough proof (for) unprecedented suspensions that Roger Goodell gave the coaches, general manager, and players of the Saints.”
Jonathan Vilma is appealing his season-long suspension, Anthony Hargrove is appealing his four-game suspension, and Scott Fujita and Will Smith are also appealing their suspensions. If their appeals are denied, they will miss a lot of f****** body bag games this season.