“What the hell are you doing, Roger?”
That’s the most important question to come out of the Saints’ bounty scandal: not “did they do it?” or “what actually happened?” What is Goodell actually up to?
It was Scott Fujita who asked this question of Goodell at the most recent meeting between players and the commissioner. But it should have been the media asking it all along. Instead of taking the NFL at its word when it announced the findings of its investigation, the media should have immediately demanded to view the evidence, and judged it with a critical eye—knowing that the NFL is a not merely a corporation, but a cartel. They failed; and it’s become the role of bloggers sitting in their mom’s basement (actually, I’m sitting in the living room of the house that I own free and clear) to ask these questions instead.
Fujita recounts the incident in an interview with Sports Illustrated:
If you could say anything to Roger Goodell right now, what would it be?
“I saw him in the [appeal] hearings and he offered to shake all of our hands. Some of the other players didn’t, but I went ahead and shook his hand, and I just said to him, ‘What the hell are you doing, Roger?’ He had nothing to say. His face sure turned red, though.”
So…Roger has some shame after all? That’s good to hear: it means that when this all blows up in his face it will exquisitely painful. There are few people in this country who more richly deserve the contempt of the public.
Saints head coach Joe Vitt (and I’m starting to like the sound of that more and more) also gave an interview, this one with Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune, in which he
doubled tripled quadrupled down on his insistence that his players never did anything wrong.
“I stated from Day 1 to investigators – and I hope they took good notes – our players have done nothing wrong. Nothing wrong,” Vitt said. “Our players never crossed the white lines with an intent to injure anybody.”
I think it’s time to start asking the question: where has Sean Payton been all this time? Why is he leaving it up to his players and staff to fight this battle? If we believe Vitt is telling the truth—and obviously I do—then Payton must be just as innocent of wrongdoing. So why no fight? What happened to those brass balls that come in so handy on the sideline? Isn’t it about time for Payton to stand up and say something in defense of guys still on the front lines?
Meanwhile, Sean Pamphilon has reared his hideous head once again, this time accusing Drew Brees of being a bounty program insider. His claims are ably debunked by the comments at Canal Street Chronicles; but once again, I think it’s time once again to piss off Stu and link directly to Jimbo03′s assessment of Pamphilon—which I think is spot-on, and should be taken into account whenever this dipshit opens his pie-hole.
SaintsNation and SaintsWin both have breakdowns of the NFL’s case against the Saints, and Roger doesn’t come off looking too good in either of them. These are major efforts, so I don’t want to steal any of their thunder…just go read them. Roger, you read them too.
In actual news, the Saints waived injured defensive end Greg Romeus, seemingly putting an end to his career with the team. If he clears waivers (and why wouldn’t he?), the Saints could bring him back…and put him on injured reserve. So his waiver really isn’t that big a move: it was probably hopeless, anyway.
And Warren Sapp has actually apologized to Jeremy Shockey for fingering him as The Rat…sorta. If you count threats of violence as an apology:
“The two times I’ve seen him I haven’t had a problem with him, but if he does we can go out in the grass and get it over with. I don’t have a problem with getting my knuckles a little scarred up,” Sapp said, laughing.
Actually, the apology was personal—i.e., not public. In public, Sapp says “The information that was passed to me, I stand by my source…” So it was one of those non-apology apologies that politicians are so good at making.
On the Jukebox
Not really music, today…more a lesson in the importance of music. Give this a listen: it will demonstrate how the right musical presentation can make or break a scene about dinosaurs moving in herds.