|That's not Anthony Hargrove saying, 'Give me my money,' many Saints players insist. (AP)|
Whether it's true or not, whether it's believable or not, many of the Saints players insist the voice on the now infamous Anthony Hargrove video is not Hargrove. Not a few Saints players. Not half. But almost the entire team, I'm told.
CBSSports.com has spoken with a number of people close to the situation who say almost everyone on the Saints team knows the identity of the voice on the tape and they say it's not Hargrove.
Many members of the Saints, these people say, are attempting to convince the player they say actually uttered the words “give me my money” to come forward. These sources will not identify the player they maintain said those words.
It's fair to be skeptical since the voice on the tape does sound like Hargrove but it's important to state that Saints players are emphatic to the point of almost zealousness that it's not Hargrove.
“It's not him,” said one Saints player, “and we're going to prove it.”
This remains part of a strategy by the Saints and union to fight the NFL at every turn in the bounty case. CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reported the union is preparing another legal challenge should commissioner Roger Goodell uphold his own suspensions which is likely to happen this week.
I've been told one of the reasons the players accused in Bountygate didn't testify before Goodell when they had the opportunity is because of a rarely reported reason. The players believe that by testifying before Goodell, they would be legitimizing the NFL's appeals process and thus make it far more difficult to sue Goodell in civil court.
One union source described the entire process of testifying before Goodell as a “giant trap.”
On the issue of the video, some Saints players maintain they are close to having the player they say did state those words to coming forward.
Now, who knows if this will actually happen, and again, skepticism on this issue is fair, but some Saints players insist it's only a matter of time before it's proven Hargrove isn't the voice on the video.