From the beginning of the whole Bounty-gate scandal there has been one thing that the NFL has not shared with the public or even the players involved for that matter—evidence.
On Friday the NFL finally leaked some of the so called evidence that was used to punish the Saints, a ledger that kept track of payments that were made for cart-offs, hard hits, as well as deductions for mental errors.
Well, there you go sports fans. There’s the evidence that we and the players have been asking for. Or is it…
The whole thing seems a little fishy. The NFL had initially insinuated that anywhere from 20-27 players had been involved in the bounty program over the three years that defensive coordinator Greg Williams was with the team. If a ledger with any sort of detail actually exists, then how come only four players were suspended?
Some of the alleged ledger entries that have been leaked do not make a whole lot of sense.
In 2009 there is a notation that a $1000 was paid out for a Giants player getting carted off the field. New York offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie ended up taking a cart ride back to the locker room, but the injury did not appear to happen due to questionable play by the Saints.
During the Saints game with the Buffalo Bills early in the 2009 season there were three ‘cart off’ payments made according to the ledger. The problem is that three offensive players were not hurt that game. In fact, there were four players injured, three off the defense and only one off the offense.
Another report stated that the game in question was not the Bills game, but the Carolina Panthers one instead. The game recap available on NFL.com indicates that only one Panther, linebacker Thomas Davis, left the game due to injury.
Hmmm…so either the ledger is a total fake or it is simply wrong. Either way it can’t be considered legitimate evidence.
The NFL is claiming that parts of the ledger were shown to some of the people involved. If that is the case then the players are taking a huge gamble by claiming that they have not seen any evidence yet.
It just doesn’t make sense.
The news on the ledger broke rather conveniently on the same day that the filmmaker, Sean Pamphilon, says that Scott Fujita pushed him to release the audio of Williams talking to the players before the playoff game with the 49ers last season. Pamphilon goes as far as to imply that Drew Brees, Fujita, and the NFLPA are trying to push the blame onto the coaches.
If any of this is true then the players involved have some incredible criminal minds. To try and pull off this kind of scam is legendary; right up there with the Black Sox Scandal (if it’s true).
If its false, then the scandal could take on a new life all its own. Imagine the amount of crap that will hit the fan if it turns out that the NFL is trying to exert undue influence and control over its teams?