User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Tagliabue, Saints continue bounty hearings

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hearings in the NFL bounty probe of the Saints have resumed with witness appearances by former Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress, Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt and linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

Advertisement
Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has been appointed to oversee the hearings, which he has scheduled to conclude in New Orleans by Tuesday. There were also several days of witness appearances in Washington, D.C., last week.

Tagliabue also has requested strict confidentiality by those involved. Childress and Vitt honored the request after their appearances.

As Childress left the downtown law office on Monday he said he had ``nothing to add'' after meeting with the former commissioner.

Vitt also didn't have much to say, though he spent about five hours at the hearing.

The Saints coach had said previously, including under oath in federal court last summer, that his players never took the field intending to injure an opponent. As he left, Vitt said that testimony ``was reiterated.''

Like other witnesses, Vitt said he could not discuss details of the hearing, but added that it was good to see the former commissioner, who he'd met before. Vitt said that they had friendly exchanges, even sharing some old stories.

Vitt then headed back to the Saints' suburban headquarters to catch up on how practice went.

Tagliabue has informed attorneys representing all parties that he hopes to rule on the appeals of Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith and two other players shortly after the hearings conclude.

Smith, suspended four games, and Vilma, suspended for the entire current season, have been allowed back on the field while their appeals are pending. It is unclear if they will be able to play against the New York Giants on Sunday.

Two former New Orleans players also were banned: Cleveland Browns linebacker Scott Fujita had his suspension reduced to one game, while free-agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove has not played in the NFL this season but faces a two-game suspension if he signs with a team.

The NFL has described Vilma and Smith as ringleaders - and former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as being in charge - of a performance pool designed to knock targeted opponents out of games from 2009 to 2011.

The league has sworn statements from Williams and former Saints assistant coach Mike Cerullo - who testified last week - saying Vilma offered $10,000 to anyone who knocked quarterback Brett Favre out of the 2010 NFC championship game.

Childress had informed the NFL after that game he'd heard from former player Jimmy Kennedy that the Saints had a bounty on Favre. Childress is currently the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator.

The NFL also has identified Kennedy as one of its witnesses, but Kennedy has said the league is lying about his statements. He added that the league irreparably damaged his reputation by its ``shoddy, careless, shameful so-called investigation.''

According to the NFL, Kennedy heard about the bounty from Hargrove, who has also denied knowledge of a bounty program.

Tagliabue has insisted that the contents of the appeals process remain private, and all of the hearings have been behind closed doors in private law offices.

Vilma offered a wave and a thumbs-up sign as walked into the downtown New Orleans' law office for Monday's proceedings. Vitt only joked to several reporters that he sees them ``in his dreams'' and that they should be at Saints' practice instead of the law office.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued the initial suspensions, which also included a full-season ban for Saints head coach Sean Payton.

Lawsuits brought by Vilma and the NFL Players Association to challenge Goodell's handling of the case, including his decision in October to appoint Tagliabue as the arbitrator for the appeals, are pending in federal court in New Orleans.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Ginger Berrigan gave the parties until Monday to answer questions about whether the NFL's collective bargaining agreement prevents a commissioner from handing out discipline for legal contact, and whether the CBA's passages about detrimental conduct are ``ambiguous, hence unenforceable.''

The NFLPA responded Monday afternoon, saying the labor agreement does not give the commissioner authority to punish players for legal hits. The union added that if Tagliabue interprets the agreement otherwise, the provisions pertaining to the commissioner's authority in the CBA would be unenforceable.

In its response to Berrigan's request, the NFL said players were not punished for on-field actions. The league said the players' suspensions resulted from meeting or locker room pledges, rewarding injury-causing hits and lying to NFL investigators about the incentive pool.

In March, the NFL announced that its investigation showed the Saints put together a bounty pool of up to $50,000 to reward game-ending injuries inflicted on opponents. ``Knockouts'' were worth $1,500 and ``cart-offs'' $1,000 - with payments doubled or tripled for the playoffs, the league said.

According to the league, the pay-for-pain program was administered by Williams, with Payton's knowledge. At the time, Williams apologized for his role, saying: ``It was a terrible mistake, and we knew it was wrong while we were doing it.''

Later that month, Payton became the first head coach suspended by the league for any reason - banned for all of this season without pay - and Williams was suspended indefinitely.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
DiNitto: Opening Line Report - SB51
Roberts: Books survive Title 'chalk'
Bengals apologize for Pacman's behavior
Colts leaving for new training camp site
Broncos hire Toub's assistant for new job
Raiders hire John Pagano as assistant
Brady, Belichick building on legacy
Steelers run into a familiar roadblock
Road trips end badly for Pack, Steelers
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
6-1 Playoffs, 15-4 Run, 65% +2,305
6-0 Streak, 17-5 Totals, +1,852 TY
11-1 NFL Guaranteed Streak
4-0 Sunday, 10-1 L11, 21-6 Run
4-0 Sunday, 10-1 L11 Playoff Picks
9-1 L10 G-Plays, 11-4 L15 Picks
10-3 NFL G-Plays This Year
4-1 L5 Picks, 8-2 L10 Guarantees
6-2 Record Last 8 Picks
3-1 Sun., 11-5 L4 Sundays
6-3 L9 NFL Guarantees
26-10 Last 36 Over/Unders
3-1 Sunday, 3-0 Last 3 G-Plays
2-0 Sunday, 5-1 L6 Over/Unders
3-0 L3 Picks, 9-3 L12 Guarantees
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2016 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Don Anthony + 2305
The Gold Sheet + 1852
Michael Black + 838
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 472
The Gold Sheet + 400
Mark Franco + 400
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Don Anthony 65 %
The Gold Sheet 59 %
Michael Black 56 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 1168
Don Anthony + 967
Andy Iskoe + 665
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1201
The Gold Sheet + 808
Don Anthony + 582
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
The Gold Sheet + 1204
Jimmy Boyd + 961
Hank Goldberg + 601
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership