NFL Players’ Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has asked NFL Commissioner to reopen his bounty investigation.
This comes on the heels of the players involved having one-on-one meetings with Goodell last week. In an interview with Pro Football Live Smith said he was requesting it to be reopened by pointing out areas of the investigation he think failed as well as pointing out specific points Smith thinks needs to be reexamined.
“Frankly, I believe that the investigators let the commissioner down,” Smith told Pro Football Talk Live. “Our hope, and certainly it will be a message from me to the league soon, is that given all of the recantations and all of the contradictions and, as exemplified by the video, all of the things that are clearly not clear, shouldn’t we be taking another hard look about where this investigation failed the commissioner?”
In Smith’s letter he says the NFL and Goodell “has come under question for being unprofessional, unsubstantiated and incomplete. In the days since the June 18 hearing, first-hand witnesses to the Saints defensive team meetings who the League actually interviewed, have clearly and publicly stated that the NFL grossly mischaracterized the information they provided to NFL investigators and knowingly misrepresented the facts surrounding this investigation.”
Here is a summary of the “mischaracterizations” Smith points out.
- Saints interim Coach Joe Vitt insists that their never was any intention to injure players (with bounties on them) by legal or illegal hits. “I stated from Day 1 to investigators — and I hope they took good notes — our players have done nothing wrong. Nothing wrong,” Vitt said, according to the letter. “Our players never crossed the white lines with an intent to injure anybody.”
- Mike Ornstein, a friend of Sean Payton was allegedly sending him e-mails from behind bars offering bounties up. He denies that any e-mails he said were intended for Sean Payton or New Orleans defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Ornstein says he clarified this to Goodell to no avail.
- The video clip that has Hargrove saying “give me the money” is inconclusive. Hargrove has denied that was his voice, and since the voice comes from off camera it certainly doesn’t prove that it was Hargrove.
- The hand written ledger of $35,000 worth of bounties on Brett Favre has an author whom hasn’t been identified.
“All of this information makes it clear that the people who presented the information from the NFL’s investigation to you egregiously failed you because they did not present a full and complete account of the entirety of the testimony and information they received,” Smith said in the letter.
The NFL responded to Smith’s letter Friday.
“I wish that (Smith) would have come to the hearing on Monday because he would have seen how earnest an effort the commissioner personally made to have the players comment and tell him what their side of the story is,” league counsel Jeff Pash told ESPN. “I think he would have been very impressed by the presentation Mary Jo White (an outside lawyer hired by the NFL to review its bounty probe) made.
“He would have had an opportunity to see the evidence and hear the witness statements and how it all weaves together, which is how a good prosecutor puts a case up. It is a mosaic. Focusing on any one piece of the mosaic may not tell you very much. When you put it all together, it paints quite a clear picture. If De had been able to be here Monday and participate in the hearing, he would have a different view perhaps than what he has today.”