NFL bountygate evidence includes computer files, extra targets, more money
The NFL showed a group of reporters, including CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, additional evidence against Saints players that details information from the coaching staff, displays bigger bounties, additional targets, anonymous sources and specific information from the Saints computer system.
Before Monday's appeals hearings on the Saints bounty punishments, the NFL was required to provide the NFLPA and the suspended players (Jonathan Vilma, Will Smith, Scott Fujita and Anthony Hargrove) with the evidence they would use against them.
The NFL sent along a minimal amount of information to the union, but later took a small group of reporters, including CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, into the league offices and gave them an hour-long presentation with some pretty compelling evidence.
- Unseen evidence: The majority of the NFL's evidence obviously hasn't been shown to the public, and it probably won't be shown to the public. But the gist of the NFL's presentation was that their decisions were based on what they have, not what they've shown.
- Coaching Staff: Much of the evidence came from Gregg Williams and Joe Vitt. Williams in particular provided a substantial portion of the information to the NFL and at one point told investigators he was "rolling the dice with player safety and someone could have been maimed."
- Saints computer system: Information that was on the Saints computer system, which was provided by owner Tom Benson to the NFL, had detailed info about the bounty program. One slide the NFL showed said "Now it's time to do our job, collect bounty money, no apologies, let's go hunting." This slide was accompanied by a picture of Dwayne "Dog" Champman, who you might know as "Dog the Bounty Hunter."
- Other Targets: We'd previously heard Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton listed as targets. But you can also add Matt Hasselbeck and Marshawn Lynch to that list.
- Mo' Money: $35,000 was offered to take out Brett Favre in the 2009 NFC Championship Game against the Vikings ($10,000 from Jonathan Vilma, $10,000 from Charles Grant, $10,000 from Mike Ornstein and $5,000 from Joe Vitt).
- Other Sources: The NFL, Freeman notes, has lots of sources, many of them anonymous.
Freeman has confirmed that this slide, which materialized from Pro Football Weekly on Twitter, was shown to reporters.
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