Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Saints Start Summer Vacation

FOOTBALL

Greg Romeus is out

Chase Daniel has a thumb.

The Saints are still awesome whenever Drew signs.

And that's it...for actual football related Saints news. Awesome, right?

EVERYTHING ELSE

Moving on to bounties, suspensions, scandals, lawyers, commissioners, unions and all kinds of shit that can't be avoided when it comes to the New Orleans Saints and the state of the team this offseason.

First things first. Personally, I don't care about the coaches' or the payers' suspensions anymore. I'm over it. I have accepted them as definite and did so quite some time ago. The Saints are still a dangerous team. Possibly more dangerous than they were last year. According to media reports from mini camp, they are definitely more focused than ever.

So, remember when the player suspensions were handed out? And the statement from the NFL outlining each player's offenses? Let's take a look at it:

Under Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement and the standard NFL player contract, a player is subject to discipline by the commissioner for conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL. The discipline imposed today for such detrimental conduct is as follows:


-Scott Fujita (now of the Cleveland Browns) is suspended for the first three games of the 2012 regular season. The record established that Fujita, a linebacker, pledged a significant amount of money to the prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty pool during the 2009 NFL playoffs when he played for the Saints. The pool to which he pledged paid large cash rewards for "cart-offs" and :knockouts," plays during which an opposing player was injured.


-Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove (now with the Green Bay Packers) is suspended without pay for the first eight games of the 2012 regular season. Hargrove actively participated in the program while a member of the Saints. Hargrove submitted a signed declaration to the league that established not only the existence of the program at the Saints, but also that he knew about it and participated in it. The evidence showed that Hargrove told at least one player on another team that Vikings quarterback Brett Favre was a target of a large bounty during the NFC Championship Game in January of 2010. Hargrove also actively obstructed the league's investigation into the program by being untruthful to investigators.


-Will Smith of the Saints is suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2012 regular season. Smith, a defensive end, assisted Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams in establishing and funding the program during a period in which he was a captain and leader of the defensive unit. Multiple independent sources also confirmed that Smith pledged significant sums to the program pool for "cart-offs" and "knockouts" of opposing players.


-Linebacker Jonathan Vilma of the Saints is suspended without pay for the 2012 NFL season, effective immediately per league policy for season-long suspensions. The investigation concluded that while a captain of the defensive unit, Vilma assisted Coach Williams in establishing and funding the program. Multiple independent sources also confirned that Vilma offered a specific bounty -- $10,000 in cash -- to any player who knocked Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner out of the 2009 Divisional Playoff Game and later pledged the same amount to anyone who knocked Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2009 NFC Championship Game the following week (played on January 24, 2010). Vilma is eligible to be reinstated after the Super Bowl in 2013.


The evidence conclusively demonstrated that from 2009-2011 Saints players of their own accord pledged significant amounts of their own money towards bounties, that players accepted payments for "cart-offs" and "knockouts" of injured opposing players, and that the payout amounts doubled and tripled in playoff games.


So, let's look at the record of what was presented yesterday. If you haven't seen the evidence presented or the annotated explanation by the union, you can look at it here. It will hurt your neck. You've been warned.

In the above statement I underlined certain points that seem to have been the basis for suspensions that were not shown in the evidence presented to the players yesterday. Go back and look at the games, the records presented (which havven't been authenticated and were "transcribed." I mean, does no one at the NFL offices know how to use a scanner?) and ask yourself if these reasons stated as to why the players were suspended were shown in the supporting evidence of their suspensions. I saw lots of stuff that had nothing whatsoever to do with any payments for anything and about 5 pages that could be considered relevant to the suspensions (if the transcriptions are accurate and the documents transcribed authenticated). It is obvious to me why the suspended players wanted coaches, teammates, and team personnel available at the appeal to testify as to the authenticity of some evidence, give context to some, and provide exculpatory evidence as well. The majority of the NFL's statement was not supported by the evidence presented. Roger Goodell was quoted as saying that the evidence presented yesterday was all they had on the four suspended players. Moron.

One thing is clear: The NFL thinks they can do no wrong and that they have these players by the balls. In a sense they are right. These suspensions are going to be upheld, but that isn't going to change the perception that people have of the commissioner and this investigation in its entirety.

In the transcription of the pledges of the Vikings game (where's the ledger for the Arizona game?) it shows Vitt contributing $5,000. How was Vitt not accused of doing this and not suspended longer than 6 games if this is true? Vitt's lawyer says that he was never charged with contributing to this pool and doesn't understand why it would come out now that he did. If the NFL had proof that Joe Vitt had indeed contributed any amount of money towards putting Brett Favre on a stretcher, don't you think they would have done something a little more about it?

This too is AWESOME
AWESOME

Read PFT's transcript of the morning session from yesterday's appeals? Do it. It will make you feel better. Two great and relevant quotes from the article:

“We have, in fact, engaged in a thorough investigation.  It has been [stymied] in part, sir, because you haven’t issued gag orders to people with evidence, former coaches, people with [the] New Orleans Saints, you had made threats to keep them from talking, you have refused to have them even participate in today’s proceedings, but nonetheless, Commissioner Goodell, we have talked to dozens of people, literally dozens of people regarding your allegations.  We have spend months gathering information and we have compared that information to your descriptions, your public descriptions. . . .  But in preparing with what you have accused Mr. Vilma with the information that we have gathered, we have found the following, Commissioner Goodell.”


“You have taken words that Gregg Williams used, colorful words like cart-offs and wax and [kill the head] and have chosen publicly to distort the meaning of those words notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Williams and others ha told you that those terms in no way relate to illegal hits or any bounty program that you have decided, sir, to misrepresent what those words, in fact, mean,” Ginsberg said.
Ginsberg also cites “substantial evidence” that Williams and former Saints assistant (and suspected whistleblower) Mike Cerullo “retracted directly and affirmatively and without equivocation any claims they have previously made about a bounty program,” explaining that the league has not disclosed those retractions.


Holy shit! Right? If these accusations are true, Roger Goodell better hope that none of this ever gets in front of an actual judge because, in my honest opinion, putting him into a situation where someone has authority OVER HIM could prove to be catastrophic for him as the commissioner of the NFL. Sure, the CBA grants him unlimited power and authority in investigations and gives him the right to punish as he sees fit, but it doesn't give him the right to misconstrue the facts of his investigations to publicly damage the reputations of all involved so that no one will even question his investigations and their merits in the first place.


Adam Schefter was on Mike and Mike this morning saying that it's obvious that there was a pay-for-performance program, but not necessarily a pay-to-injure program. And he's right. Something doesn't add up. This thing has stunk since the get go and with every day that passes and more "evidence" gets released, it stinks even more.


LETTING GO


As I stated earlier, I have accepted the punishments handed out for the Saints. I really don't think it will be all that big of a deal. I have let go of the anger I felt when Sean Payton was suspended for they year and have embraced the role we have been given. It is obvious to me that the 2012 New Orleans Saints are going to have to fight tooth and nail for every single yard they gain both on the field and in the press and that the hard work and determined effort they put in will pay off in the Dome come February.

Who Dat, bitches!





Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Don't Be A Pamphilon, Bro


The 90 minute narcissistic diatribe of Sean Pamphilon on yesterday's Sports Hangover in response to listener questions was teetering on the edge of torturous until "Sandusky guy" (AKA Darrell, in Mid City) called in.

Sandusky guy taking it to Pamphilon:

"Well, Sean, I'll give you one thing, my brother, you've got guts. This is the second time I've heard you on the air so ill give you that. Other than that though, all the ..... and platitudes and all of that you've been doing... all the attempts to justify what you've done...I just remember the hurt in Steve Gleason's voice when he made his statement, you know, and he felt like you had betrayed him and as far as I'm concerned what you did was pretty despicable, and you know all these claims that you're making--that you didn't do it to become famous and all this other stuff--listen, my brother, you have gained notoriety because of this and saying that you didn't do it for that reason is really just an insult to our intelligence, because the simple fact of the matter is that no one had ever heard of you before this happened...definitely not as many people as have heard of you now and you didn't make this public a week after you heard it or a month after you heard it...you waited until this bounty scandal was all over ESPN and all over the sports world before you made those things public...it was for maximum effect. You gained notoriety from it, and I find your actions despicable and I think that you coming on the air and trying to defend this stuff is beside me. And I know that you aren't as low down of a human being as this guy that I am about to mention, it's almost like Jerry Sandusky getting on the news and trying to justify what he did."

The laughing ensues and everything Darrell had said got lost in the wash.

God damn it, Darrell. You had him. And then you allowed him to focus on the Sandusky reference and make you out to be a moron for the comparison and avoid in its entirety everything that you had said previously. Would have been better without it. Oh well. Pamphilon went on to talk about how Darrell is crazy for the reference and never addressed anything that Darrell had mentioned.

So, the Sandusky comparison...is it really that far off? (I AM NOT SAYING SEAN PAMPHILON IS A CHILD RAPIST!) Sandusky, no doubt is a monster in worse ways than Sean Pamphilon would ever be, but I can say that Sandusky robbing children of their dignity and their innocence is something that can be compared to what Pamphilon did to Steve Gleason. We've all seen the utterly helpless shell of a once vibrant man Steve Gleason has been reduced to. He is just as dependent on others as a child is on his parents, more so in some ways. And the one thing that Steve Gleason had left, that Sean Pamphilon stole from him, was his good name and reverent status among the Saints organization. Sean Pamphilon took the trust that was granted to Steve Gleason for the making of a documentary of his life , which was to be a sort of "gift" for his newborn son, and abused that trust to further his own agenda, gain notoriety for himself and his upcoming documentary, The United States of Football.

That is what went down.

Take away all of the surrounding circumstances, moral stances that Sean Pamphilon has taken, the influence of the NFLPA, Scott Fujita and Drew Brees and look at what actually occurred. Did the NFLPA ask Pamphilon to release the Williams tape to absolve players of wrongdoing and hid behind the "just following orders" escape strategy? I think it's certainly plausible. Are Scott Fujita and Drew Brees Executive Members of the NFLPA? Yes. Does that make any of this ok? Fuck no. Did the one person whose opinion matters in this entire thing give his blessing for this tape to be released? Obviously not. If he had, we wouldn't be talking about any of this in the first place. If you or I were making a documentary of a dying friend's life so that his newborn son could have a  window into what kind of man his father was and someone came along and asked us to further their own interests by releasing parts of this private film, would you or I do it? I know I wouldn't. And I would suspect that you, or any rational and empathetic human being wouldn't as well.

Sean Pamphilon, you, sir, are a dick. Steve and Michel Gleason were the ones calling the shots on this and you disregarded their wishes and feelings for your own personal gain. You actually had the nerve to say, "Well, I was gonna sell it! At least I didn't do that!" Fuck you.

When it comes down to it, I admit that I feel conflicted when I put myself in Sean Pamphilon's shoes. He seems like a genuinely caring person who sees the bigger picture of CTE and the long term effects of football on players long after their playing days are in the rear view mirror. The conflict disappears though when I consider Sandusky guy's comments and that Pamihilon's release of this audio did nothing to advance the public's perception of concussions and the long term trauma that football players endure. If that were the goal of his releasing this audio, it should have been in the context of his USOF film which would probably have had the blessing of Steve and Michel Gleason as well. If he'd done that, the justifications, rationalizations and minimizations wouldn't be necessary in disturbingly lengthy blog posts and interviews by Pamphilon or anyone else.


I just read The Angry Who Dat's interview with Sean Pamphilon and it makes me realize that this guy probably shouldn't have been trusted from the get go to do this story on Gleason and that maybe the Gleasons should have checked him out a little better. Pamphilon admits in the interview that he was only privy to 3 team meetings throughout his year of semi-access to the Saints, and the dude released the audio from one of them. 33% of the inside information he learned was released to the media. He says he is nobody's bitch, but that sure seems like a bitch move to me. A move like that will from now on be referred to as a pamphilon.

I didn't trust him before learning this and trust him less now. He hints that he has more info that is going to be released at some point and that his United States of Football film will be of epic proportions. Well, why didn't he just save the Gregg Williams audio for release in his USOF film?

The answer to that question seems pretty obvious at this point.

P-R-I-V-A-C-Y is priceless.