The NFL’s Bountygate sunk to a new low on Monday.
Back when the situation was just getting started, Roger Goodell would leak some sort of “gotcha” news every time Johnathan Vilma and the rest of the suspended Saints would show up to appeal the ruling. Whether it was a recording of Gregg Williams asking the Saints to kidnap Michael Crabtree’s firstborn or “written proof” of money transactions, the NFL tried to have an ace up its sleeve regardless of how dubious it appeared to be.
Well, the NFL was at it again on Monday. When meeting with Johnathan Vilma, Roger Goodell revealed a signed affidavit from former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams saying that Vilma stood up in the locker room and put up $10,000 for any player that takes Brett Favre out of the game. Shocking, right? Well, let’s break down the facts, mock trial style:
1. Gregg Williams is currently suspended from the NFL indefinitely. He wants to get back in the league. So a signed affidavit – one that also includes him stating his innocence in all of this – that accuses Vilma and gives the NFL ammo in its crusade will only bolster his chances of getting back into the league. This is the equivalent of an affidavit from a guy on Death Row (jail, not the label) that would get his case revisited. These accounts rarely hold up in a court of law and shouldn’t hold up here.
2. The affidavit was signed on September 14th. Last Friday. So they didn’t get Williams to sign the affidavit back in March when all of this started. They waited until September.
3. Regardless of if the NFL reinstates Gregg Williams or not, what locker room will want him as a coach? He just snitched on a player in a sworn statement regardless of the fact the whole bounty program was his to begin with. Who’s going to trust him in the future?
4. Vilma and his lawyer still insist that they have eight or nine affidavits exonerating them, directly contradicting Gregg Williams.
5. The Saints are 0-2. They don’t have their coach and they look like a mess on the field. Chances are, the season is pretty much ruined and they can’t cash in on a draft pick either. Regardless of if Vilma gets his suspension lifted or not, the damage has been done.
If I had to place a bet on the outcome, I’d say that both parties either settle or this ends up back in court. Between this and the referee fiasco, Roger Goodell is doing a bang up job as NFL commissioner.