Following Monday's appeal hearings for the suspended players in the New Orleans Saints "pay for performance" system, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell finally released some of the league's evidence to the media. One document allegedly showed Saints interim head coach Joe Vitt pledging $5,000 to anyone knocking Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC Championship game.
Personally, this bit of news didn't stir me much one way or the other. We already knew there was something untoward going on in New Orleans because the Saints organization has admitted as much. Also, Joe Vitt is suspended for six games so Roger Goodell must have had something on him.
Lately, Joe Vitt has been focused on leading the Saints and hasn't been nearly as outspoken as suspended players such as Jonathan Vilma. However, when the media reported the above evidence, Vitt issued a quick, unequivocal denial. Joe Vitt even called Roger Goodell personally to voice his objection.
Now this is where the story gets interesting. According to Joe Vitt, Roger Goodell agreed with him! Vitt even told Goodell he'd be willing to take a lie detector test on this. So on at least one point, we now have an admission that the NFL's so-called evidence against the Saints is either vague and open to interpretation or it's outright wrong.
In my opinion, this is a very, very serious development. If Goodell has now admitted that some of the evidence against the Saints is inaccurate, how can we trust any of it? At this very moment, I'm sure Jonathan Vilma's attorney Peter Ginsberg is incorporating this development into his client's defamation lawsuit versus Goodell.
I understand that Roger Goodell's sanctions against the New Orleans Saints are not the equivalent of a court of law. Employers discipline employees every day without needing to adhere to the overwhelming burden of proof that prosecutors need in court.
However, I believe Roger Goodell has become more concerned with trying to prove that he is right rather than trying to get it right. In doing so, he has jumped on every piece of evidence, both solid and thin. As a result, we now know that Joe Vitt was falsely accused on one point.
How many others in the Saints organization besides Joe Vitt have also been falsely accused?
Patrick Michael lives in New Orleans and has always been a big fan of the New Orleans Saints. Patrick's favorite Saints season was 2009 when New Orleans won Super Bowl 44. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
Brett Martel, "Coach Vitt challenges piece of NFL bounty evidence," yahoo.com
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