We’re in the middle of wedding season, and long ago it became clear that finding a dream wedding dress–an agonizing task for many brides–is much easier than finding anything that resembles common ground between the NFL, and the Saints.
Today’s proof of this increasingly depressing fact comes to us courtesy of Drew Brees and league spokesman Greg Aiello. But first, let’s back up for a minute.
Earlier today while he was parading around Bristol, one of Brees’ stops was an appearance on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines”. This came after he was on “Mike and Mike in the Morning”, when he said that all the NFL has against New Orleans right now is evidence of “tough talk,” which was his way of softening the insanity associated with Gregg Williams’ now infamous hate-laced rant.
When he stepped in front of another mic with the Outside The Lines crew, Brees added to his previous criticism, saying that the league’s investigation had a predetermined outcome.
“I believe really a product of this whole thing has been an investigation that unfortunately seemed to have a predetermined conclusion already established prior to (the investigation). Unfortunately, it seems like the NFL has supposedly kept all of that very close to the vest and not really turned anything over except in engaging in a very strategic media campaign to somehow try to influence public perception in a very strong way.”
Please, Drew, keep telling us how you really feel.
He did, also saying that the coaches involved have likely stayed silent due to the threat of heavy sanctions and further punishments from the league if they speak out publicly and tell their side of the story. He even said that the league may have fabricated some of the statements they’ve attributed to Joe Vitt and Sean Payton.
“Have I been told that some of the statements that were supposedly released to have been said by the coaches were actually statements that were actually drawn up and manufactured by the NFL and then basically put out there as their words? Yes. If that’s the case, that’s unfortunate. It makes them sound like their trying to manufacture something, fabricate it or hide the truth and the facts.”
Your turn now, Aiello. What say you?
“We completely disagree. The evidence is overwhelming that the Saints conducted a prohibited pay-for-performance/bounty program for three seasons that offered rewards to players if an opponent was “carted off” or “knocked out” with an injury. The investigation was thorough and includes statements from multiple sources with first-hand knowledge about the details of the program, corroborating documentation and other evidence. The enforcement of the bounty rule is important to protect players that are put at risk by this kind of scheme. Certainly, Drew Brees would not want to be the target in a bounty scheme and that is why we must eliminate bounties from football.”
The problem that remains are the significant holes poked through the evidence produced by the league, leaving us to still operate under the hopeful assumption that far more is hidden somewhere. We have to still believe that, because the evidence produced so far has been consistently substandard.
But very soon we’ll be left without confirmation of our skepticism, because Goodell will step forward and announce his decision, and it’ll be exactly the same as his original ruling.