It’s all starting to come apart. Just when I get tired of writing about Bountygate, the flood doors start to buckle. Right about now Roger Goodell is noticing his socks are wet—and Roger? Just in case you’re wondering: no, that’s not a good sign.
It can’t be a coincidence that as soon as Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, and Scott Fujita all officially file appeals before the commissioner, the NFL releases another tidbit of information, trying to piss in the public relations pool. Seems that Anthony Hargrove confessed in some detail to following orders from Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt to mislead investigators in early 2010.
The problem is: Hargrove’s signed deposition doesn’t actually admit that a bounty program existed, or that he participated in it. ESPN, suddenly on the side of right and good, pointed this out almost as soon as the deposition was made public.
But there’s more, and it comes from an even more unexpected source: Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune. I’ve excoriated Triplett in the past, so I should be fair and give him his due this time: this is what reporters are meant to do.
Triplett makes the same point about Hargrove’s deposition as ESPN, but he takes it further:
And according to a source close to Williams, the NFL has also misrepresented what Williams said in interviews with the league. According to the source, Williams never admitted a “bounty program” was in place and that the league “rephrased his statements to satisfy its needs.” The source also said Williams never identified any players for their involvement in a pay-for-performance or bounty program.
I’ve believed all along that Payton, Williams, Loomis, and Vitt played along knowing they’d never work in the NFL again if they didn’t. It was, essentially, a plea bargain, further conditioned by a deep-seated loyalty to the NFL that goes way beyond what they might think about the present commissioner. But if the players aren’t going to let themselves be railroaded, and if the official story starts blowing up, and it begins to look more likely that speaking up and standing up for themselves may work better than laying low and kissing ass, then Roger Goodell’s ass may be starved for kisses from here on in.
And right in the middle of all this the Saints announced the signing of another Bounty-era villain: Remi Ayodele, who stood above Brett Favre and crowed in triumph for the cameras. Kind of a hearty “fuck you you fucking fucks” directed right at Goodell and all his lackeys, enablers, and fanboys.
Mickey is having one hell of an offseason. NOW SIGN DREW!