The NFL has released a portion of the evidence that it obtain during its investigation of whether the New Orleans Saints operated a bounty program through former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. And by a portion of the evidence, only 200 of 18,000 pages were released. And the majority of the 200 pages are horrendously irrelevant.
And by released we mean, the NFL released the 200 pages of evidence to the NFL Players Association on Friday. The hearing was on Monday. And Father's Day weekend was stuffed in between.
Field and Court obtained a copy of the NFL's evidence that it released. Bang it here to take a look for yourself.
If your head hasn't hit the keyboard by the time you get to Exhibit 10, then you'd see that the Saints clearly operated a bounty program.
Exhibit 10 is a handwritten note (but typed out for the NFL by someone unknown) that has names and dollar amounts next to those names. Some of the players and coaches listed on the note are contributing to a "QB Out" pool, while others are contributing to a "general pool" or "Pick 6" pool.
While some have said that Exhibit 10 appears to be a payout of money to linebackers Jonathan Vilma and Charles Grant, it's clear to us that this exhibit only shows who is contributing to the pool.
After all, linebacker Charles Grant was placed on injured reserve well before the 2009 NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings. So it would be highly unlikely that he would be paid $10,000 for a hit on Brett Favre that was impossible for him to make.
Nevertheless, the evidence that was released by the NFL shows that money was paid out to Saints players for certain types of hits on opposing players. Exhibits 5 and 7 show money being paid out to players and players owing money based on their performances during games.
Undoubtably, the Saints and Williams operated some type of pay-for-performance-based system. They even used "Dog the Bounty Hunter" as a cover image on one of their documents and had the words, "Now it's time to do our job...collect bounty$$$!" It doesn't get any dumber than that.
The NFL's evidence is insufficient, however, based on the sanctions issued by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Goodell has wiped out Vilma's 2012 season. He blanked head coach Sean Peyton's opportunity to lead the Saints next season. And he's taken games away from other players and coaches who he has determined were involved in the bounty program.
With such severe sanctions, Goodell needs to disclose all of the evidence used to reach his decision to deliver such fatal blows. That evidence would have to include the players getting money to injure opposing players. Anything less doesn't warrant such long suspensions.
And while Exhibit 10 seems to be exactly that—large sums of money pooled to take Favre "Out"—it only seems that way. It's time for the NFL to take the guess work out of this situation and disclose the evidence that unequivocally proves that the Saints were paid to injure opposing players.
We believe that with all the smoke that the NFL has conjured up, there has to be more substantial evidence of a pay-to-injure bounty program within the Saints organization.